EU Foreign Ministers Could Add To Belarus Sanctions List

BRUSSELS -- The European Union says it could add more names to its list of Belarusian officials subjected to visa bans and asset freezes during a meeting of EU foreign ministers opening today in Brussels.

In January, the EU imposed sanctions on President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and 157 other Belarusians in response to the violent crackdown on protesters who demonstrated against Lukashenka's disputed election victory in December.

But since the EU, along with its ally the United States, took punitive actions against the Belarusian regime, courts in Belarus have jailed several opposition activists for up to four years, and a former opposition presidential candidate has alleged he was tortured in jail.

Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said the EU has been clear on what it wants to see, namely the release of all political detainees, She said the trend is going in the “opposite direction.”

At the meeting, EU foreign ministers could also discuss additional measures such as economic sanctions on Belarusian state companies and financial institutions.


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