22 January 2018, Monday, 5:14

Maja Kocijancic: EU may extend sanctions at any time


The Belarusian issue is not included in the agenda of a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

The meeting is scheduled for October 21 in Luxembourg, BelaPAN cites Maja Kocijancic, a spokesperson for EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

She added that the Council may take a decision in a written form at any time.

The EU sanctions against the Belarusian authorities expire on October 31. The EU Foreign Ministers are to take a decision by this date on whether the restrictive measures against official Minsk should be extended or not.

The EU visa and economic restrictions are applied to 243 Belarusian officials, including Lukashenka. The sanctions were imposed due to systematic violations of human rights and repression against opposition and civil society.

Human rights groups from Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Slovakia, Finland, Switzerland, Norway and Belarus sent a letter to the EU Foreign Ministers and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton saying that sanctions are not effective in their current form. “Only a consistent EU strategy with the use of effective restrictive measures can lead to positive change in Belarus, starting with release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners.” The letter was signed by Andrei Sannikov, a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections, former political prisoner and leader of the civil campaign European Belarus.