The Belarusian government has urged its partners in the Common Economic Zone, Kazakhstan and Russia, to develop a consolidated stance on the West’s sanctions against Belarus, a source in the Belarusian Council of Ministers told BelaPAN on Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Syarhey Rumas sent a letter to Russia`s minister of industry and trade, Viktor Khristenko, who chairs the board of the trilateral Eurasian Economic Commission, requesting him to place the issue on the agenda of a meeting to be held by the commission’s Council on February 22.
Stanislav Zuyev, a member of the commission’s board and aide to the Russian minister, told BelaPAN on Tuesday that the board had not yet received such a letter from Mr. Rumas, chairman of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission.
The foreign ministers of the European Union are expected to impose travel and asset freeze sanctions on more Belarusian individuals in response to human rights abuse and the persecution of the government’s political opponents at a meeting on February 27, after the EU Council on February 10 broadened the criteria for designating Belarusian individuals and entities. There are unconfirmed reports that as many as 135 more Belarusians may be added to the EU’s blacklist.
On January 31, 2011, the EU Council imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 156 Belarusian government officials and other individuals for their role in "the violations of international electoral standards" in the December 14-19, 2010 presidential election and a post-election crackdown on civil society and pro-democratic supporters. The Council blacklisted 19 more Belarusians in March, 13 in May, four in June and 16 in October, placing on the list mostly judges and prosecutors involved in the prosecution of post-election protesters. In December, it added the judge and the prosecutor in the trial of prominent human rights defender Ales Byalyatski to the list.
The list currently includes 201 Belarusians.
The United States has placed six Belarusian companies - the oil refinery Naftan in Navapolatsk, the Hrodna Azot manufacturer of nitrogen fertilizers, the Hrodna Khimvalakno manufacturer of nylon and polyester yarns and fibers, the Babruysk-based Belshyna tire manufacturer, the Lakafarba paint and varnish company in Lida and the Polatsk-Shklovalakno glass fiber manufacturer in Polatsk - on its List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.