Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Obama extends U.S. sanctions against Lukashenka, other Belarusians

By Alyaksey Areshka, BelaPAN

Minsk, 11 June. President Barack Obama has extended by one year the United States sanctions against Alyaksandr Lukashenka and certain other Belarusians.

The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, Mr. Obama said in a notice issued on June 10.

For this reason, the national emergency declared on June 16, 2006, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond June 16, 2016. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13405.

Mr. Obama said that the national emergency had been declared to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons to undermine Belarus's democratic processes or institutions, manifested in the fundamentally undemocratic March 2006 elections, to commit human rights abuses related to political repression, including detentions and disappearances, and to engage in public corruption, including by diverting or misusing Belarusian public assets or by misusing public authority.

The visa bans and asset freezes targeting Mr. Lukashenka and nine other Belarusians were approved by Mr. Obamas predecessor, George W. Bush, in June 2006.

Apart from Mr. Lukashenka, the U.S. sanctions targeted his eldest son Viktar, presidential aide for national security since 2005; Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the central election commission since 1996; Viktar Halavanaw, who was minister of justice in 2006; Viktar Sheyman, the then state secretary of the Security Council who is currently head of the Presidential Administrations property management department; Dzmitry Pawlichenka, the then chief of the Special Rapid Response Unit (SOBR) of the interior ministry; Stsyapan Sukharenka, the then chief of the Committee for State Security (KGB); Alyaksandr Zimowski, the then chairperson of the Belarusian State Television and Radio Company; and Natallya Pyatkevich, the then first deputy head of the Presidential Administration.