Germany wants EU visa bans for Belarus: Report

German chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition is considering reimposing European Union sanctions against Belarus, Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported late on Monday, citing government sources.

Berlin wants to discuss the issue with its EU partners before potentially reintroducing bans on dozens of top officials, including President Alexander Lukashenko, to travel to any of the 25 member states -- countries that include even next-door neighbour Poland.

The EU suspended a 2006 visa ban two years ago when ministers also ended a separate four-year-old restriction on high-level contacts with Belarussian officials aimed at diplomatically isolating the authoritarian regime.

A freeze on Belarus government assets in the EU remains in place.

Earlier on Monday, government spokesman Christoph Steegmans told a regular press briefing that it was time that the EU discussed "political reactions" to the recent violent crackdown on demonstrators.

During the same briefing, a spokesperson from the foreign ministry openly spoke of sanctions when he referred to a meeting of EU foreign ministers scheduled at the end of January.

"By then, we need to think about what happens for example with the suspended EU sanctions against Belarus," he said.


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