The United States is going to reintroduce economic sanctions against Belarusian state-owned enterprises; they have been suspended since 2015.
“In 2015, the Department of Treasury issued – and has since extended annually – a general license authorizing transactions with nine state-owned enterprises in Belarus. We did this because of notable progress at the time in the field of human rights and specifically due to the release of all political prisoners Regrettably, we find the human rights situation has deteriorated to arguably the worst point in Belarus’ independent history. With more than 300 political prisoners currently detained in Belarus, the department is unable to recommend another extension at this time, particularly in light of the sense of Congress expressed in the 2020 Belarus Sovereignty and Democracy Act. The current extension will expire on April 26th,” Ned Price, Spokesman for the US Department of State, said during Wednesday’s press briefing.
As reported earlier, the United States also imposed visa restrictions on dozens of individuals undermining Belarusian democracy In the wake of the 2020 presidential election.
Nine Belarusian enterprises may be put under the US sanctions again: Belarusian Oil Trade House, Belneftekhim, Belshina OAO, Grodno Azot OAO, Grodno Khimvolokno OAO, Lakokraska OAO, Naftan OAO, Polotsk Steklovolokno OAO, Belorusneft. In this case, US businesses and citizens are to be barred from entering into economic and financial relationships with the above mentioned companies; all their assets and accounts located in the United States will be frozen.
“We still want to see Belarus succeed as an independent, prosperous, democratic country,” Price stressed.
According to him, this step is ‘reversible’, but the Lukashenka regime should take proper steps, in particular, to release all political prisoners and stop violence against the Belarusian people.
In February, the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously adopted a resolution calling for further targeted sanctions coordinated between the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and other allies and partners against Belarusian authorities who committed human rights violations and authorities from the electoral commission who engaged in activities that resulted in the falsification of the election results. Moreover, a new free and fair election under Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe observation should be held in Belarus, they believe.