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Latvia, Lithuania warn EU over sanctions

Автор: Anton TARAS


Latvia and Lithuania want the European Union to refrain from economic sanctions that could hurt ordinary Belarusians, BelaPAN said.

The warnings come ahead of a March 23 meeting of the EU foreign ministers, who are expected to consider further sanctions against Belarus over the persecution of Alyaksandr Lukashenka's political opponents and human rights abuse.

Speaking earlier this week in an interview with Ziniu radijas, Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said that in general Vilnius supported the 27-nation bloc's sanctions against Belarus and was interested in the EU's common policy toward Minsk.

Mr. Kubilius announced that the EU was not planning to introduce sanctions against Belarus' potash fertilizer giant Belaruskali and chemical companies. Sanctions against the enterprises would be unreasonable as they would hit ordinary people hardest, he warned.

"More sanctions will be introduced against people close to Alyaksandr Lukashenka, some of them are businesspeople, but the list is limited," he said.

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview with the newspaper Diena that the EU would not hit Belarus with a comprehensive trade embargo.

"Latvia also opposes the application of broad sanctions that would affect not only many residents of Belarus but also cause significant harm to the economies of a number of EU states, including Latvia," he was quoted as saying.

During discussions within the EU at different levels Latvian officials and diplomats have emphasized the need for possible sanctions targeting Belarus to cause the least possible damage to EU economies, Mr. Dombrovskis said.