Latvian Foreign Ministry eases visa regime for Belarus

The Latvian Foreign Ministry announced a decision on Sunday to ease visa requirements for Belarus regardless of the sanctions against Minsk which are being considered by the EU.

From January 24 the Belarusian nationals requesting for long-term visas in Latvia and Belarus will not pay state duties to get a visa, the news portal has reported.

Earlier this week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for immediate sanctions against the leaders of Belarus over the response to the opposition protests that followed the December 19 presidential election.

The foreign ministers of the European Union's 27 states are expected to reach a final decision on any sanctions when they hold their first meeting of the year on January 31 in Brussels.

The resolution calls on the European Council to impose a ban on visas and freeze any EU bank accounts of senior government officials and members of the judiciary and security agencies responsible for rigging the elections and persecuting the opposition.

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron rod since 1994 and has been dubbed by the United States "Europe's last dictator" for a clampdown on opposition and dissent, gained a landslide victory in the polls with 79.67 percent of the vote.

RIGA, January 23 (RIA Novosti)


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