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European Union Imposes Sanctions Against Those Responsible for Oppression in Belarus

01.02.2011

No. 31-E

Yesterday during the Foreign Affairs Council the European Union foreign ministers approved the enforcement of sanctions against Belarusian officials tied to the violent acts and arrests that took place after the recent presidential elections. Entrance and travel bans for the European Union as well as financial sanctions are being imposed on these individuals. The European Union is also examining its current policies towards Belarus.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the decision was made to enforce sanctions against the Belarusian officials that were connected with the violence and mass arrests, violations of election law, and propaganda that followed the presidential elections on 19 December. “From now on the European Union needs policies towards Belarus that take the actual situation into account, without damaging civil society,” said Paet.

One opportunity to do so is supporting civil society through European Union Eastern Partnership, he added. “For example, we need to help Belarusian university students and facilitate travel for people.” The Estonian foreign minister feels that the visa facilitation process with Belarus must continue. Estonia will waive the visa fee for Belarusian citizens.

Paet stated that Belarus must stop oppressing representatives of civil society. “The sanctions must be as specific as possible, targeting those responsible for oppression. We must simultaneously support the development of Belarusian civil society,” he added. Preparations for the visa facilitation agreement between the European Union and Belarus must also continue.

Tomorrow, 2 February, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet will participate in a conference of Belarus donors in Warsaw, where opportunities to support civil society in Belarus will be discussed. The donor conference is being organised by Poland, and representatives of governments as well as NGOs that support Belarus or would like to co-operate with Belarus are invited.

More information:
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
pressitalitus@mfa.ee

 

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