US Extends Sanctions on Belarus

Posted June 14th, 2012 at 1:00 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has extended sanctions on Belarus for what he said are the Minsk government's continued actions and policies to undermine the development of democratic governance in the country.

In a letter Thursday to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Obama said the government of Belarus in 2011 continued its crackdown against political opposition, civil society and independent media. He said the government arbitrarily arrested, detained and imprisoned citizens for criticizing officials or for participating in demonstrations and prevented independent media from disseminating information.

Mr. Obama's action keeps in force U.S. sanctions against Belarus that were first invoked in 2006 .

The U.S. sanctions are in addition to those imposed by the European Union in an effort to persuade the authoritarian regime of President Alexander Lukashenko to make progress on human rights.

President Lukashenko has ruled Belarus for almost 18 years, cracking down on the opposition and repressing freedoms in defiance of warnings from Western countries.