Updated at 18:07,08-09-2017

EU will lift sanctions on Lukashenka for four months on Monday, Reuters says

By Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN

The European Union will lift its sanctions on Alyaksandr Lukashenka and scores of other Belarusians for four months after the presidential election barring any last-minute crackdown on the Belarusian leader`s political opponents, Reuters reported on Friday with reference to diplomatic sources.

According to the report, EU foreign ministers will make the decision on Monday as a response to the release of six opposition activists from prisons in August and Mr. Lukashenka`s role in organizing Ukraine peace talks.

"Depending on Lukashenko`s conduct at the presidential election, the decision to lift sanctions for four months will be formally adopted on Monday," one senior EU diplomat was quoted as saying. "The EU needed to respond to the freeing of the political prisoners," a second diplomat said.

Diplomats say that the EU`s list of around 140 individuals will be suspended from the end of October until the end of February, allowing those in question to move their money around and travel again. An arms embargo will remain.

However, the European Union will keep the sanctions, which have been renewed every October for the last few years, under review. The suspensions could be allowed to expire if Belarus is seen as committing fresh rights abuses, Reuters said.

Four people suspected of involvement in the disappearances of Mr. Lukashenka`s political opponents in 1999 and 2000 - Uladzimir Navumaw, Viktar Sheyman, Yury Sivakow and Dzmitry Pawlichenka - will remain under sanctions.

Some of the 25 Belarusian companies currently targeted by EU sanctions will now be eligible for financing from the European Investment Bank.

But some companies, such as military equipment exporter Beltechexport, are likely to remain under sanctions.