EU suspends sanctions on Belarus after Alexander Lukashenko re-elected for fifth term

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The European Union (EU) on Monday agreed to suspend Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko after he won a fifth term as president, despite a lack of opinion polls.

Lukashenko, 61, once named “Europe’s last dictator” by Washington, won for the fifth time in a row yesterday with 83.5 percent of the vote.

EU foreign ministers have agreed to lift the embargo for four months, France’s European affairs minister Harlem Desire told reporters after the election.

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But Desire said sanctions could be “immediately lifted” if needed.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says there seems to be less repression than in the past
Elections, but Washington expressed disappointment, saying the turnout was “significantly reduced” for the country’s commitment to free and fair elections.

In the run-up to the vote, EU diplomats said Brussels was ready to reconsider sanctions, which are due to expire.
On October 31, elections were held in “acceptable weather.”

But observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the vote was early today
Integrity has been hampered by “significant problems”, especially when counting votes.

“It is clear that Belarus still has a long way to go to fulfill its democratic obligations,” said Kent Hursted, head of the OSCE mission.



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