US announces sanctions against several Belarus leaders

WASHINGTON, February 28 (Itar-Tass) - The U.S. administration has announced financial and economic sanctions against a group of Belarus leaders. In reply, the Belarus ambassador to Washington described the American policy vis- -vis Minsk as "an outrageous deceit".

The U.S. Treasury announced on Tuesday that six persons were included in this "black list": Belarus Procurator-General Pyotr Miklashevich, Education Minister Alexander Radkov, Information Minister Vladimir Rusakevich, former Interior Minister Yuri Sivakov, Commander of a Special-Purpose Police Regiment Yuri Podobeda, and Chief of the Public Associations Department of the Belarus Justice Ministry Oleg Slizhevsky. The sanctions stipulate the freezing of the assets they have in the United States and prohibition of any contacts of the Americans with them.

The reason for these punitive measures is that those people belong to the Belarus leadership, which the press release claims to be "a repressive regime". Some of those people, the U.S. Treasury alleges, had taken active part in the repressions against the civil society and the democratic opposition after the 2006 Belarus presidential elections.

The U.S. Treasury had already imposed sanctions on ten top Belarus leaders last year, including on the president of the country. All these measures were taken on President Bush's executive order. Moreover, the U.S. claims to be acting synchronously with the European Union.

Adam Zubin, who heads the U.S. Treasury department, dealing with economic sanctions, said that together with his subordinates he would keep an eye on the Belarus officials, who are not discharging their functions like Washington would like them to do.

In reply to Itar-Tass request to comment on the new U.S. unfriendly actions against the Belarus Republic, the Ambassador of that country to Washington, Mikhail Khvostov, noted, first and foremost, that modern history showed that "sanctions have never yielded success". The decision of the U.S. Treasury to freeze the assets of Belarus citizens is a "juridical nonsense", since, objectively speaking, "there are no such assets in the United States", the high-ranking diplomat is sure.

"The policy of the present U.S. administration vis- -vis my country is a gross deceit, which the American people will never believe", the Belarus ambassador stated.