Dutch Minister: EU is ready to expand sanctions imposed on Belarus

They are planning to expand “the black list” of Belarusian officials today.

The Foreign Ministers of 27 EU member states have gathered in Luxemburg today, on October 10. They are planning to discuss the current foreign policy issues. Belarus is also on the agenda.

They have answered journalists’ questions before the closed meeting.
The head of the EU diplomatic service, Catherine Ashton, has reminded about the main demand that should be fulfilled by the Belarusian authorities.

Catherine Ashton: “I am still worried about the fate of political prisoners. We are waiting for their release and vindication. I also intend to establish contacts with the people of Belarus”.

Answering the question whether the Ministers would discuss new economic sanctions, Lithuanian Minister Audronius Ažubalis said:

“If is it suggested, why not? However, as far as I know, the expansion of “the black list” is on the agenda today. It is not only directed against the people responsible for Dec.19 repressions, it is broader – it is directed against the officials responsible for the pressure exercised on democratic activists and political and civil leaders”.

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has also noted that Alyaksandr Lukashenka should release political prisoners. He added:

“If he does not accept the low-key approach, he will understand the hard-sell one. It will mean imposing stricter sanctions”.


Besides the Belarusian issue, the European Ministers will discuss the situation in Ukraine and the advisability of signing the Association Agreement with it, the way of exercising pressure on Iran and Syria and the ways of responding to yesterday’s bloody events in Cairo.

The EU Council of Ministers is expected to prolong the entrance ban imposed on Belarusian officials (there are 192 names on “the black list” and will add new names to “the black list”.