Updated at 18:30,22-11-2017

U.S. prolongs sanctions against Lukashenka, allies in Belarus

RFE/RL

U.S. prolongs sanctions against Lukashenka, allies in Belarus
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (file photo)
U.S. President Donald Trump has prolonged sanctions against Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and members of his ruling apparatus for another year.

By signing a letter that was sent to the U.S. Congress on June 13, Trump extended a U.S. national emergency with respect to Belarus.

"The actions and policies of certain members of the Belarusian government and other persons to undermine democratic processes or institutions of Belarus, to commit human rights abuses related to political repression, and to engage in public corruption continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," the letter says.

The national emergency was first declared by President George W. Bush in 2006. It has been extended annually since then.

Rights activists say Lukashenka has maintained power since 1994 by suppressing dissent and sidelining potential rivals while relying heavily on Russia for economic subsidies.