MEPs call for sanctions against Belarus

A call for economic sanctions against Belarus, as well as a European travel ban on the country's political elite.

That is the resolution adopted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg in a protest against the crackdown and arrest of opposition demonstrators in Minsk.

During the debate, Jacek Protasiewicz, a Polish MEP with the European People's Party, said: "We suggest to add one important and short sentence to paragraph number two: "In particular the Parliament is worried about the health conditions of Mikolai Statkiewicz, on hunger strike since 30 days."

Statkiewicz is a former presidential candidate, one of those arrested amid demonstrations over recent disputed elections.

The international community has condemned President Alexander Lukashenko over the crackdown.

A decision on whether the European Union will back the MEPs' call for sanctions is expected before the end of the month.

Lukashenko has accused Germany and Poland of attempting to topple him, and is warning he will strike back with his own tough sanctions if the EU moves against him.

Before the elections there had been signs of warmer relations between Belarus and Brussels, but recent events have dealt a setback to any improvement.


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