EU ministers greenlight sanctions on Belarus
The EU members' foreign ministers on Friday agreed to individual sanctions against Belarus at a videoconference devoted to the situation in the country. Representing Poland at the talks was Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.
According to EU sources there was a broad consensus to the sanctions at the conference. The sources said that the EU's European External Action Service (EEAS) was preparing a list of sanction recipients for approval by the EU Council.
Czaputowicz said after the conference that Poland supported the sanctions, which are to embrace persons who manipulated the Belarusian presidential elections and employed violence against protesters demonstrating against the exit poll results. He added that most of the other ministers shared this view.
Czaputowcz said the EU will probably compile a list of persons to be sanctioned. He stressed, however, that Poland believed the sanctions should not bring harm to the Belarusian population, and ought to be accompanied by "a package of positive proposals."
Mass demonstrations broke out in the Belarusian capital Minsk and other cities after Sunday's presidential elections, which gave a further office term to incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko. The protests erupted following the announcement of exit polls, according to which Lukashenko acquired 80 percent of the vote, his main contender, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, ostensibly garnering 9.9 percent. According to the protesters the election results were manipulated.
Belarusian police are using tear gas as well as blast and rubber ammunition against the protesters, more than 6,000 people have been arrested in recent days. On Wednesday, Belarusian authorities announced the death of one of the demonstrators.