September 04, 2020

Lukashenko set to escape EU sanctions amid German and French reluctance
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus appears set to escape European Union sanctions over last month’s rigged elections after countries led by Germany and France blocked the move. The EU is preparing to impose sanctions against senior figures in the Belarusian government and intelligence services over the election and the bloody crackdown which followed. But a number of member states including Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands are reluctant to go after Mr Lukashenko personally at this stage, according to EU diplomats. They want to keep channels of communication with the Belarusian regime open and are pressing for the president and his immediate circle to be excluded. “There will be sanctions, there was unanimous support for that among member states. The question is who will be on the list and at what level,” an EU diplomat told the Telegraph. “We believe the first sanctions should not target the political level. We want dialogue and the fear is that if we target Lukashenko that would be shut down. We prefer to keep sanctions on the higher political level as an option B if the situation escalates.” The EU agreed last month to impose sanctions against those it holds responsible for the election and the government violence which followed.
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