US questions sanctions relief for Belarus

  • Liis Einstein
  • 17.4.2017 14:17

The US administration will decide by the end of April whether to renew the sanctions relief for Belarus. The government crackdown on 25 March sets the sanction relief in doubt as dozens of protesters and journalists were arrested in Minsk after peaceful demonstrations.

The relief applies to nine major Belarusian companies in reaction to the release of political prisoners and calm presidential elections in 2015. The ease of sanctions aims to encourage strongly Russia-linked Belarus to move closer to the EU and US. Despite Washington's continuing concerns about human rights in Belarus, the extension of the sanction relief could be perceived as ignoring the recent crackdown. Belarusians held peaceful demonstrations since February 2017 against the government's plan to impose taxes on long-term unemployed, who have not registered with the government job centre. On 25 March police violently suppressed the anti-government demonstrations; on 6 April the EU adopted a resolution to condemn the crackdown and considers new restrictive measures after lifting the sanctions earlier in February.

 

 

About author: Liis Einstein

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