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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

 

EU parliament urges sanctions on Belarus

From The International Herald Tribune:

Sanctions against Belarus should be broadened, the European Parliament said in a resolution Thursday in response to what it described as violations of media freedom in that former Soviet state.

In a nonbinding resolution, Parliament condemned what it called "indiscriminate attacks" on media freedom under the government of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994.

These have included "arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment of detainees, disappearances and politically motivated persecution," Parliament said.

The resolution urged the executive European Commission and European Union member governments to create a support program for independent journalists. It also envisioned a possible ban on visas for Belarus officials implicated in abridging press freedoms.

In Minsk, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ruslan Yesin, dismissed the resolution.

"When issues of fighting terrorism are center stage throughout the world, some parliamentarians still discuss the affairs of a country with a stable political and socioeconomic system," he said.

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