EU Ministers agree on Belarus sanctions
At a two-day informal meeting in Berlin, European Union foreign ministers agree on a sanctions list to punish those responsible for electoral fraud and subsequent repression in Belarus. The head of Czech diplomacy, Tomáš Petříček, told reporters after the meeting, who stated that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is not on the list yet. The Berlin talks were informal, so ministers did not make a final decision, but the sanctions list could be approved next week.
“It is clearer what the list will look like. It will include senior representatives of the Belarusian regime,” said Petricek, who noted that there would be about twenty names on the list before today’s meeting. Josep Borrell, the head of EU diplomacy, also spoke about two dozen people at the final press conference today. When asked if Lukashenko would be there, Petricek replied that not yet.
“At the moment, it will probably not appear on the list, but it is possible that in the following days, depending on the development of the situation, the list will be supplemented,” said Petříček. He said the reason why the Belarusian president was not yet included in the sanctions, said that this could jeopardize a possible dialogue between the regime and the opposition, which the EU supports. However, if the situation in the country worsens, the EU can add Lukashenko to the list.
Petříček spoke about the agreement on Belarus this morning and later stated that the ministers returned to Belarus even today. “Because President Lukashenko has rejected any role of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) in moderating dialogue,” Petricek said. “In our opinion, this is contrary to OSCE commitments, and Belarus is a member of the OSCE,” he added.
“Our priority is to help start a political dialogue between the regime, civil society, and Belarus. We support their goal of free elections in which they decide for themselves about their future,” said Petříček.
The opposition and the EU consider the elections in Belarus, which, according to the official version, were again won by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to be unfree and rigged.
When asked whether the Belarusian president should be blacklisted, Petříček replied on Thursday that Lukashenko was on the list. Still, it is necessary to consider whether he should be included in the first phase. The Minister pointed out that punishing Lukashenko could jeopardize the dialogue between the parties to the Belarus conflict