The ministers of foreign affairs of the European Union met in Luxemburg discuss further sanctions against the regime of Belarusian president Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
The foreign ministers strongly condemned the politically motivated detentions, trials and sentencing of representatives of the democratic society, the independent media and the political opposition, including several presidential candidates. The Council of the European Union also imposed travel restrictions and assets freeze on several key persons. In addition, the Council decided to impose an embargo on Belarus on arms and materials aimed for internal repression. Finally, it decided to freeze assets of three companies linked to the regime.The purpose of freezing the assets is to put additional pressure on the regime to end its crackdown against the civil society in the country. In addition to that, the Council decided to add additional businessmen to the black list that currently includes 188 Belarusians with connections to the regime. Previously a group of 14 of the OSCE’s 56 member states has initiated an investigation on the aftermath of the presidential elections on December 19. Belarus, which holds OSCE membership, has so far refused to co-operate in the investigation, claiming the mission, requested by Western countries including the United States, had “no valid grounds”.