Belarus complains about EU sanctions

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry expressed Monday its discontent with the decision made by the European Council to extend for another year the restrictions for the top Belorussian officials to visit European Union, according to news reaching.

"Regrettably, the EU Council failed to overcome the inertia of sanctions mentality," Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

But at the same time, Belarus has noted and welcomes EU's plans to continue broadening cooperation with Belarus, including top- level political contacts, the spokesman said.

"Belarus also wants to broaden mutually respectful and equitable dialogue with EU and its member states," he said.

The EU Council on Monday announced its decision to extend by another year, until October 31, 2011, the visa sanctions on Belarusian officials, including President Alexander Lukashenko.

The European Council said that it regretted the lack of progress in Belarus regarding law supremacy, human rights, freedom of speech and associations. Still, the Council re-confirmed the need to preserve a political dialogue with Minsk on the high level.

The EU sanctions have been imposed since 2006 in response to the elections results that Europeans supposed were rigged by Lukashenko.


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