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Hungary Wants Exemptions To EU Arms Embargo On Belarus: Sources

The EU first introduced an arms embargo, visa bans and asset freezes on Belarusian companies and individuals, including President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (file photo), after a violent crackdown on antigovernment demonstrations in 2010. (file photo)

BRUSSELS -- Hungary is seeking the introduction of more exemptions to the European Union's arms embargo on Belarus, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

Sources who were not authorized to speak on the record told RFE/RL on January 30 that Hungary is keen to expand the number of exemptions to include helicopter spare parts and equipment used for shooting sports.

Biathlon rifles are already subject to an exemption.

Hungary is so far the only EU member state calling for more exemptions.

But the 28 nations have until February 28 to unanimously expand the arms embargo, and EU diplomats will try to find a compromise ahead of the deadline.

The EU first introduced the arms embargo, along with visa bans and asset freezes on four Belarusian companies and 174 individuals, including President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, after a violent crackdown on demonstrators that followed the December 2010 presidential election.

The EU removed the companies and 170 individuals, including Lukashenka, from the sanctions list in February 2016, citing what it said were improvements in the human rights situation in the ex-Soviet republic.

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    Rikard Jozwiak

    Rikard Jozwiak is the Europe editor for RFE/RL in Prague, focusing on coverage of the European Union and NATO. He previously worked as RFE/RL’s Brussels correspondent, covering numerous international summits, European elections, and international court rulings. He has reported from most European capitals, as well as Central Asia.