August 5, 2021

Belarus recalls its representative in Brussels after entry into force of EU economic sanctions

Cornered by the sanctions of the European Union (EU), Belarus decides to recall for consultations its permanent representative to the EU and to suspend its participation in the Eastern Partnership of the EU, a mechanism intended to bring Europeans and former republics closer together. Soviet.

The Europeans have stepped up retaliatory measures against Minsk, due to the repression of the vast protest movement triggered by the re-election deemed fraudulent, in August 2020, of President Alexander Lukashenko.

“We cannot fulfill our obligations under this agreement in the context of the sanctions and restrictions imposed by the EU”, the Belarusian foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday (June 28th). Belarusian diplomacy invited the head of the European delegation in Minsk to return to Brussels for “Convey to its leaders the unacceptable nature of pressures and sanctions”.

According to Minsk, the suspension of the Eastern Partnership, launched in 2009 with six countries, “Will negatively affect the interaction with the European Union in the field of the fight against illegal immigration and organized crime”. European officials who participated in the development of sanctions against Belarus will also be banned from entering its territory, according to the same source.

“Belarus continues to prepare other response measures, especially of an economic nature. We hope that officials of the EU and its member states are aware of the destructive nature and futility of a belligerent approach in relations with ” the country, the ministry added. These measures were served on the head of the EU delegation in Belarus, Dirk Schuebel, who was summoned to the foreign ministry, according to the same source.

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New economic sanctions

The retaliation comes after the latest wave of economic and individual sanctions adopted by Europeans and entered into force last week. They target senior Belarusian officials and businessmen, as well as key potash, petroleum and tobacco industries.

They were adopted in response to the May 23 interception by Minsk of a Ryanair airliner flying over Belarusian territory and the arrest of two passengers on board, opposition journalist Roman Protassevich and his Russian companion, Sofia Sapega.

These economic sanctions are in addition to the EU flight ban for Belarusian airlines whose overflight and airports have been discouraged by EU airlines. The EU added 78 names to its blacklist, which now numbers 166, including President Alexander Lukashenko and two of his sons, and 15 regime-related entities.

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The EU launched the Eastern Partnership with Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, offering closer economic and political relations in exchange for reforms. Some of these countries, Ukraine and Georgia, see this agreement as a first step towards membership, but European leaders have never made any promises to this effect. The EU has always ensured that this partnership is not aimed at expanding its influence at the expense of others, but Russia sees this partnership as an incursion into its area of ​​influence.

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The World with AFP