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Obama Extends 'National Emergency' On Belarus

  • RFE/RL

U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama has extended the designation of “national emergency” to relations with Belarus, saying the actions of certain government officials "continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

The declaration allows Washington to maintain sanctions against individuals and specific companies in the authoritarian Eastern European country.

The designation was first made in 2006, by then-President George W. Bush, who also ordered measures blocking the property of people the White House said were undermining democratic processes or institutions in Belarus.

Obama said the government crackdown that began in 2011 "show[s] that the Government of Belarus has taken additional steps backward in the development of democratic governance and respect for human rights."