Lithuanian Foreign Vice-Minister: EU restrictive measures against Belarus – a call to take essential steps to improve human rights situation

26 July 2013, Last updated at, 11:29 EEST
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author: European Humanities University

During the discussion between students and EU diplomats at the European Humanities University on 25 July in Vilnius, the Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrius Krivas said that restrictive measures against Belarus were effective, because they did not allow the Belarusian authorities to ignore and forget the EU demand to release and rehabilitate all political prisoners, and to improve the human rights situation and democracy in the country.

“Belarusian officials are subject to targeted restrictive measures, in response to their concrete actions. One of the basic principles is that sanctions should be targeted, which should eliminate any adverse humanitarian effects or unintended consequences for ordinary citizens,” Krivas said.

Currently, an arms embargo is imposed on Belarus. The assets of 30 Belarusian companies have been frozen. In addition, 242 people are affected by economic sanctions, as well as banned from entering the EU. The EU imposed restrictive measures on Belarus in 2006 and renewed them in the beginning of 2011 in response to government’s crackdown on the opposition after the fraudulent presidential election on 19 December 2010.

The discussion on the impact of the EU restrictive measures on the Belarusian regime and ordinary citizens was held during one of the events of the Lithuanian EU Council Presidency – the visit to Vilnius of RELEX, the Foreign Relations Counsellors Working Group of the European Commission. This working group is a Council preparatory body that carries out the monitoring and evaluation of EU restrictive measures (sanctions) facilitating the decision-making on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and discusses other EU foreign policy issues (legal and budgetary aspects). The working group consists of diplomats from all EU member states. In this half-year, a Lithuanian representative chairs this group.

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