Merkel says sanctions likely against Belarus (Extra)

Berlin - European Union sanctions against Belarus are likely after its crackdown on dissidents, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday in Berlin after talks with visiting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

'We both agreed that given the situation in Belarus, it will unfortunately have to discussed again whether we'll have to revive sanctions that we really should have put behind us. It's very regrettable.,' she said.

'We both see the developments in Belarus with great concern, especially the treatment of the opposition.'

Belarus declared President Aleksander Lukashenko re-elected in a poll last month and hundreds of opposition activists were arrested.

Lukashenko won a fourth term in office on December 19, receiving 79 per cent of the vote. Opposition leaders and international observers widely criticized the result as fraudulent.


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