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EU to partially lift sanctions on Belarus

February 15, 2016, 10:33 UTC+3 BRUSSELA

The arms embargo will remain in force

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BRUSSELA, February 15. /TASS/. The foreign ministers of EU member countries will partially lift sanctions on Belarus at today’s regular meeting.

Several sources in European institutions previously confirmed that restrictions against President Alexander Lukashenko and 170 other Belarusian officials are expected to be lifted. However, the arms embargo will remain in force.

The decision to partially lift sanctions was made in response to freeing political prisoners in Belarus last August in the context of improving relations between Brussels and Minsk. EU also noted falling number of violations at presidential election in Belarus on 11 October 2015 compared to previous voting. Many experts say that another factor in deciding to lift sanctions after 13 years was their ineffectiveness.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said on February 9 that "sanctions are not a good method to develop cooperation and inter-state relations." "We are ready to move along our part of the way in the framework of EU’s expectations. We are interested in looking for common ground through dialogue and moving on to normal cooperation," Makei said.

Sanctions against Minsk were gradually expanded until mid-2012 when it included 240 individuals and 32 legal entities. The restrictions have remained in force since then though the "black list" narrowed because several individuals passed away and others won lawsuits against EU.

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