During the EU Council summit, European Union leaders have agreed to impose sanctions on Belarusian officials over the vote rigging and post-election police violence in the country. However, the name of Alyaksandr Lukashenka is not to be added to the sanctions list.
After about ten hours of talks on the night of October 2, top European politicians managed to unblock the restrictive measures on the Belarusian authorities.
“We will implement the sanctions and you know that what is on the table is a list of about forty names,” EU Council President Charles Michel said in the early hours of Friday morning.
(UPD) The new list has been published on Friday afternoon. It includes senior police and election officials, e.g. Interior Minister Yury Karayeu, Public Security Police Chief Alyaksandr Barsukou, Dzmitry Balaba, Commander of the Special Purpose Police Unit of Minsk (OMON), Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chairperson of the Belarusian Central Election Commission, Valery Vakulchyk, ex-Head of the State Security Committee (KGB), and others.
The sanctions issue was raised by EU officials as far back as August. However, the final decision on restrictive measures was vetoed by Cyprus. In exchange for the consent, the EU member demanded the bloc slap sanctions on Turkey.
“I am very happy that there is now finally a way forward to the sanctions. There will be no impunity for those responsible for demonstrations and opposition politicians ” Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the talks ‘very successful’.
The Council of the European Union has published the resolution on the conclusions on external relations (including those with Belarus) it made on October 1:
“The European Council condemns the unacceptable violence by Belarusian authorities against peaceful protesters, as well as intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detentions following the presidential elections, the results of which it does not recognise. The European Council fully supports the democratic right of the Belarusian people to elect their President through new free and fair elections, without external interference. The European Council calls on the Belarusian authorities to end violence and repression, release all detainees and political prisoners, respect media freedom and civil society, and start an inclusive national dialogue. It agrees that restrictive measures should be imposed and calls on the Council to adopt the decision without delay. The European Council also encourages the European Commission to prepare a comprehensive plan of economic support for democratic Belarus.”
According to Charles Michel, although the Union does not recognise Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s legitimacy as the president of Belarus, they are not going to blacklist him at the moment. The head of the European Council put down such decision to the EU’s desire to organise a dialogue between the incumbent authorities and the protesters in Belarus.