Belarus and the EU: Europe mulls next steps after disputed election
According to sources, sanctions could be taken as early as the end of this month.
The EU is likely to impose new sanctions on Belarus later this month, diplomats and officials said after the country’s authorities began to harshly crack down on protests over the disputed presidential election results..
Minsk, Belarus. August 10, 2020.
Germany, Lithuania, Latvia and Sweden have publicly supported the sanctions. According to anonymous sources, Austria also adheres to a tough position, and Hungary is the most skeptical..
An emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers will take place on Friday. To make a decision on sanctions, the consent of all 27 member countries is required.
EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, on whose initiative an emergency meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers was convened, also released a statement on Thursday, August 13, in which he noted that the EU would be forced to reconsider its relations with Belarus if its authorities did not stop the violence in against protesters and detainees and will not start a dialogue with the society of the country.
“Alexander Lukashenko and the Belarusian authorities must stop repressions against the Belarusian people and begin negotiations with the entire society. In recent months, Belarusians have clearly shown that they strive for democracy and respect for human rights. A significant political change is a prerequisite for the further development of relations between the EU and Belarus, – said the head of the EU Foreign Ministry. “Otherwise, we will have to reconsider our relations with Belarus and, ultimately, to adopt sanctions against those guilty of violence, arbitrary arrest and falsification of election results”.
“We cannot develop our relations (with the Belarusian authorities), ignoring flagrant violations of human rights and political freedoms,” the statement also says..
On the eve of an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers, the presidents of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland issued a statement calling on the Belarusian authorities to immediately end violence against protesters and to respect human rights, freedom of speech and assembly. The presidents of the four countries also called on Lukashenka to “immediately start a dialogue with the Belarusian people”.
“We are ready to offer our mediation efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement in Belarus and strengthen the independence and sovereignty of your country,” the presidents of the four states said..
“If the Belarusian authorities fulfill these requirements, then the doors for cooperation with the international community should remain open. Isolation is not the path to prosperity and development of any nation, “the document says..
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