EU may review Belarus sanctions if Sept. polls 'democratic'

BRUSSELS, September 15 (RIA Novosti) - The EU could review sanctions against Belarus if the OSCE confirms that parliamentary elections due on September 28 are run in a democratic fashion, a diplomatic source in Brussels said on Monday.

The source said such plans have been drafted in a resolution due to be approved during a meeting of the 27 EU foreign ministers on Monday.

The spokesman said the European Union is considering including Belarus into a 'neighborhood program' which could pave the way for Minsk to receive a financial assistance package.

The softening in EU policy towards Belarus started after Belarusian authorities released three political prisoners last month. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has also been slow to follow Russia in recognizing Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by the West, and other top Belarusian officials are currently banned from visiting the EU, including the U.K., after clamping down on political dissent and other human rights violations in the country. The EU also suspended bilateral ministerial meetings with the country and expelled Belarus from the system of trade benefits.



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