Belarus 'ready for dialogue' with Poland despite sanctions

Belarus says it is ready to resume dialogue with Poland despite visa sanctions.

"We hold that it is still possible to return to constructive dialogue," the Belarusian Foreign Ministry's press secretary, Andrei Savinykh, told reporters on Thursday.

Poland has imposed a unilateral travel ban against Belarusian officials following a brutal clampdown on protestors and opposition leaders who were arrested after disputed presidential elections last month.

More than 600 people were beaten and detained as riots followed the re-election of hardline leader Alexander Lukashenko.

The European Parliament voted in favor of sanctions including a travel ban and asset freeze for Lukashenko and some 100 other officials last week.

"We are unwilling to respond by introducing countersanctions towards Poland, but we have no other choice," Savinykh said.

Lukashenko and 40 other officials were initially banned from entering the EU in 2006, but restrictions were suspended two years later amid signs of a tentative political thaw in Belarus.

MINSK, January 27 (RIA Novosti)


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