EU lifts most sanctions against Belarus

European Union ends sanctions on Belarus after government improves human right issues

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko during the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, on October 11, 2015

The EU has ended five years of sanctions on Belarus on Monday after President Alexander Lukashenko significantly improved human rights matters.

An asset freeze as well as a travel ban imposed on 170 people and three entities were suspended after the president decided to release several political prisoners as Brussels had requested.

"This decision is not taken under the illusion that Belarus is changing overnight," Germany's Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said.

However, the EU said that it will keep its arms embargo and sanctions will not be lifted from the four men allegedly involved in two opposition politicians disappearance.

Lukashenko was previously warned by the EU about sanctions on Belarus which could only be removed after peaceful elections.

The EU offered financial help to Belarus as well as trade help to potentially join the World Trade Organisation. The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will financially help Belarusian companies.

TRTWorld and agencies