The European Union renews visa sanctions, suspended in 2008, on a number of high-ranking Belarusian officials. The list of persons, subject to sanctions, has been expanded up to 120 names. A formal decision on this matter was taken by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of 27 EU countries in Brussels on January 24.
Imposition of any economic sanctions had not yet been reported, PAP reports citing diplomatic sources.
«With regard to the resumption of visa sanctions, it should be noted that there is complete agreement within the EU on this issue,» said a EU diplomat on Thursday, January 27. He added that the list of persons, subject to sanctions, includes «more than 100 people,» which is, certainly, more than it used to be in the previous one, headed by President Alexander Lukashenko. Another diplomat gave different figures — 116-120 persons. The list will include both the guilty of rigging the elections on December 19 and the repressions in their aftermath, the diplomat said.
«The European Union imposed sanctions on Lukashenko and 40 other officials after a similar, though less brutal repressions, following the 2006 elections. In 2008, the EU suspended sanctions against 36 individuals and resumed political dialogue with Minsk, only after the authorities had released important political prisoners,» diplomatic sources reported.
However, there is still no agreement among the EU member-states on other possible sanctions, including economic ones. The EU foreign ministers will discuss this issue on Monday, January 31. Perhaps such restrictions will be introduced later. «We need to consider what economic and trade restrictions can be introduced without penalizing society, though,» said the diplomat.