US won’t lift sanctions against Lukashenka’s regime

2008 2008-10-22T13:17:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The US will alleviate sanctions against Belarus only if the authorities would take further steps for improvement the situation with human rights and development of the civil society.

It has been stated by David Merkel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, in an interview to Reuters, BelaPAN informs.

As stated by D. Merkel, to this point the US does not see a necessity to join the EU which suspended visa sanctions against Belarusian officials. He reminded that Washington responded to the decision of the Belarusian authorities to release all political prisoners, suspending sanctions against two Belarusian companies “Lakokraska” and “Polotsksteklovolokno” which are subsidiaries of “Belneftekhim” concern.

Bush administration counts upon improvement of situation of independent media and independent organisations, for instance, youth organisations, David Merkel said. The US also hopes that “additional obstacles” such as a decision to cut down the number of the US diplomatic mission in Minsk would be removed. However de denied that expanding the staff of the embassy is one of the conditions for lifting the sanctions.

The State Department representative has also indicated to the difficulties the Belarusian leadership faces balancing between the Kremlin and the West. They have a huge and complicated neighbour with which they are trying to maintain good relations, but at the same time the Belarusians understand the necessity of ties and contacts with Europe and the US, David Merkel said.