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EU Widens Scope Of Belarus Sanctions

The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, talks to reporters in Brussels on January 23.
BRUSSELS -- The European Union's foreign ministers today agreed to widen the scope of the 27-member bloc's sanction regime against Belarus.

The move allows Brussels to freeze assets and impose visa bans on individuals who are responsible for serious human rights violations.

It also includes those guilty of repression against the country's civil society and political opposition, and those who benefit from or support President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's regime financially.

The EU has already put more than 200 individuals, as well as three companies, on its sanctions list due to their involvement in the crackdown that followed the flawed presidential election in December 2010.

No new names have been added under the new criteria but a "substantial" number can be added in the coming weeks and months.
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