Georgia Welcomes Sanctions Lift Against Belarus

TBILISI – The Georgian Foreign Ministry has welcomed a decision by the EU Foreign Affairs Council to lift the restrictive sanctions against Belarus on February 15th.

The MFA said that lifting a large number of restrictive sanctions against Belarus represents yet another step towards deepening co-operation between the two partners that is in line with interests in both Belarus and Europe.

Georgia has welcomed the strengthening of relations between Belarus and the European Union that will contribute to the economic development of the region as well as to the achievement of common goals in the Eastern Partnership.

The EU lifted most sanctions against Belarus despite some concerns about political repression and human rights abuses in the country.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels this week agreed to end asset freezes and travel bans against 170 individuals, including the President, Alexander Lukashenko, aiming at improving EU-Belarus relations.

The list from the EU included three defense companies: Beltech Holding, Beltechexport and Spetspriborservice, which have close ties to the Belarus Government.

The sanctions are retained against four members of Lukashenko’s security service suspected of involvement in the disappearance of four political opponents in 1999-2000. An arms embargo also remains in place.

The George W Bush administration called Lukashenko “Europe’s last dictator”. He swept to a fifth term as president last October. Following the elections independent observers said there were significant flaws. 

By Zviad Adzinbaia

Edited by Chloe Diamond 

17 February 2016 13:59