EU prolonged arms embargo, some sanctions against Belarus

EU prolonged arms embargo, some sanctions against BelarusThe European Union has extended the restrictive measures against Belarus by one year, the EU press service reported on Monday.

The arms embargo and some targeted sanctions against Belarus were prolonged for another year after the EU saw insufficient progress to end them.

"On 27 February 2017, the Council decided to prolong the restrictive measures against Belarus for one year, until 28 February 2018," the press service said.

The document noted that Brussels extended an embargo on supplies of weapons and special-purpose police vehicles along with visa restrictions against four Belarusian officials. The four were linked to the disappearance of two Belarus opposition leaders, a businessman and a journalist.

"Tangible steps taken by Belarus to respect universal fundamental freedoms, rule of law and human rights will remain key for the shaping of the EU's future policy towards Belarus," the EU said.

The EU imposed the first batch of visa sanctions against Belarus and its President Alexander Lukashenko in 2002 over human rights violations. The package has been repeatedly revised since them, and they were frozen three times. In February 2016, the EU partially lifted sanctions against Minsk, which were in force for more than 13 years. Brussels did not extend sanctions against 170 Belarusian officials, including Lukashenko, and three companies.
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