Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Barack Obama, photo collage by Belsat.eu
U.S. President Barack Obama extended national emergency regime with respect to Belarus for one more year, the White House said in a statement on Friday.
The national emergency with regard to Belarus was first introduced by the then U.S. President George Bush on June 16, 2006.
“The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” the document reads.
According to the U.S. side, the state of emergency is needed to deal with “the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons to undermine Belarus’s democratic processes or institutions, manifested in the fundamentally undemocratic March 2006 elections, to commit human rights abuses related to political repression, including detentions and disappearances, and to engage in public corruption, including by diverting or misusing Belarusian public assets or by misusing public authority.”
The sanctions ban the blacklisted persons from entering the U.S. and freeze their assets in U.S.banks; prohibit U.S. companies from doing business with them.
Apart from Mr Lukashenka, the US sanctions target his eldest son Viktar, presidential aide for national security since 2005; Lidziya Yarmoshyna, chairperson of the central election commission since 1996; Viktar Sheyman, the then state secretary of the Security Council who is currently special presidential aide; Dzmitry Paulichenka, the then chief of the Special Rapid Response Unit (SOBR) of the interior ministry, etc.
The United States will remove sanctions only when Belarus demonstrates progress in the field of democracy and human rights, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Scott Rauland said in early June. According to him, the United States will assess the progress made on the results of the parliamentary elections which are to be held in September, 2016.