Estonia says EU should have "targeted sanctions" against Belarus

Riga - The European Union should consider implementing 'very well-directed economic sanctions' against Belarus in view of the recent 'awful oppression' there, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said Wednesday.

Speaking in Riga after talks with his Latvian counterpart, Girts Valdis Kristovskis, Paet said sanctions could be applied to 'close collaborators of the regime,' including companies that make it easier for the government of President Alexander Lukashenko to hold on to power.

'The EU should analyze this possibility and be prepared for very well-targeted sanctions,' Paet said.

Estonia has been among the most vocal critics of Lukashenko, taking a stronger line than fellow Baltic states Latvia and Lithuania.

On March 1, Estonia cancelled visa fees for ordinary Belarusians to visit Estonia and is now offering help in protecting websites run by the Belarusian opposition.

The EU has already re-imposed a travel ban on Lukashenko and his main supporters, but pressure for tougher action is building after claims by members of the Belarus opposition that they were tortured while detained in the wake of disputed elections on December 19.


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