Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka pictured shortly after his reelection (file photo) (epa)
April 12, 2006 -- Switzerland has imposed a travel ban on Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and 30 other Belarusian officials, two days after the European Union made the same move.
Both the 25-nation bloc and Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, are responding to what they consider to have been rigged presidential elections in Belarus last month and Minsk's failure to respect basic freedoms.
The EU Watches Minsk
Belarusian students studying at an EU-funded university in Vilnius, Lithuania
WATCHING AND WAITING: The European Union repeatedly urged Minsk to conduct a fair and democratic presidential election on March 19. The EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement today that the recent arrests of Belarusian opposition figures are "unacceptable" campaign violations. Ferrero-Waldner repeated an EU threat of "targeted sanctions" against top Belarusian officials if the elections are not free and fair. However, the EU will withhold final judgment until March 20, when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels....(more)