EU will lift sanctions from Belarus president only after release of political prisoners – Lithuania

Europe will lift the existing sanctions against Belarusian President Aliaksandr Lukashenka only after ‘major progress in the area of human rights’ is shown and political prisoners are released, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrius Krivas said commenting his recent meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alena Kupchyna in Minsk.

According to Krivas, EU-Belarusian agreements on a facilitated visa regime and readmission might be initialled during the upcoming EU Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in May. But it is too early to lift all the sanctions, the top official stressed.

“The main reason why EU restrictive measures against Belarusian government officials are still in place remains, and therefore it’s too early to speak about lifting these restrictive measures. To do so, the EU needs to see major progress in the area of human rights in Belarus and that, first of all, includes the release of political prisoners and the need for their legal rehabilitation,” DELHI quotes Andrius Krivas with a reference to news agency BNS.

At the same time, Lithuania has praised Belarus’ position on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and its decision not to join Moscow’s sanctions against EU member states. 

The Belarusian HRC “Viasna” states that there are five political prisoners – people who are unlawfully deprived of liberty because of their political views, and demands their immediate release – in Belarus.

The EU blacklisted Belarusian president Aliaksandr Lukashenka, his sons Viktar and Dzmitry, head of the Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna, KGB Chief Valery Vakulchyk and a number of Belarusian ministers, top officials, judges, journalists and presidential bagmen who are accessory to serious violations of human rights, for the repression of civil society and the democratic opposition or for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Belarus, or persons benefiting from or supporting the Lukashenka regime.

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