The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on European Affairs held hearings on the Belarusian issue on January 27. The Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon suggested imposition of sanctions on the Belarusian regime and, simultaneously, increasing aid to non-governmental organizations in the country. According to him, in 2010 to support the Belarusian opposition have allocated $ 11 million.
As it became known to Telegraf, these funds will be spent on «supporting civil society, access to information and political competition, creating opportunities for closer interaction between citizens of Belarus and the outside world.» The U.S. assistance will be provided to the opposition lawyers, trade unions, youth environmental groups, political parties and organizations, business associations, expert groups, non-state print and electronic media, broadcasting both in Belarus and abroad. Concrete proposals for assistance to opposition organizations and non-state media will be announced at a conference in Warsaw (Poland) on February 2.
However, the United States intends to introduce a range of sanctions on the Belarusian authorities. In particular, they intend to extend the ban on the U.S. residents to have business with Belneftekhim subsidiaries, to expand the list of banned Belarusian officials, to impose additional financial sanctions on Belarusian legal entities and individuals. As noted by Philip Gordon, the U.S. actions against Belarus will be coordinated with the European Union.
Elections in 2010 were More Democratic than in 2006, Gordon
However, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State said that notable improvements had been noticed in the 2010 election campaign in Belarus in comparison with the election campaign of 2006. However, he said, the lack of transparent counting of votes had been recognized as «bad or very bad» in nearly half of the cases.
Philip Gordon also said that the government’s dispersal of the opposition rally on December 19, happened in Europe in the 21th century, was «particularly alarming.» «We may never know all the facts about what happened that night, but we know one thing: the government’s response was brutal, and its subsequent actions can be interpreted only as a campaign to suppress opposition and weaken civil society and independent media,» said the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.