US Sen Tim Johnson Expects Belarus Sanctions Legislation

By Michael R. Crittenden, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- A top U.S. Senate Democrat expects legislation to be introduced to address the recent crackdown against opposition groups in Belarus, according to a memo circulated to lawmakers last week.

Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who heads the Senate Banking Committee, said in a memo to fellow panel members last week that they may review the economic sanctions being levied against the former Soviet republic. The Feb. 2 memo from Johnson to other members of the banking panel said any legislation targeting the country's government "could include expanding current travel restrictions, the existing asset freeze against Belarusian officials, as well as other sanctions."

U.S. officials have strongly condemned the December crackdown by security forces against opposition and dissident groups in the wake of the country's presidential elections. The U.S. government has since expanded its visa restrictions on the country's officials, while the European Union has sought to freeze the assets and restrict the travel of some of Belarus's top officials.

-By Michael R. Crittenden, of Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9273;


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