EU to blacklist up to 20 Belarus officials to press leader
The European Union has agreed to impose sanctions on up to 20 senior Belarus officials suspected of election fraud and the crackdown on protesters and is likely to put President Alexander Lukashenko on its list at some point, the bloc’s foreign ministers said Friday.
"We have general agreement on how the list will be structured and who will be, more or less, on the list," Czech Republic Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Berlin. However, the technicalities involved in legally finalizing the list won't be concluded for at least another week, The AP reported.
Asked whether the Belarus president will be hit by a travel ban and asset freeze, Petricek said he believes that “Lukashenko should be on the list. The question is whether in the first stage, or a later stage if there is no progress.”
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius agreed that Lukashenko should be on the list now, but he acknowledged that there may be “tactical reasons” to keep the Belarus leader off. Lithuania had tabled its own list of 118 officials.
Some countries prefer a gradual approach that would ratchet up pressure by adding more names progressively if Lukashenko failed to enter into talks with the opposition.
Greece and Cyprus are also believed to be demanding that sanctions be slapped on Turkey for what they say is its illegal energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean before the two countries agree to the measures against Belarus.