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Obama Extends Belarus Sanctions, National Emergency

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama has extended for one year the U.S. national emergency with respect to Belarus.

The move prolongs U.S. sanctions against authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and members of his regime.

The national emergency, first declared in 2006 by President George W. Bush, says Belarus is a threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

A new White House statement says that, in 2012, the government of Belarus continued its crackdown against political opposition, civil society, and independent media.

It said Belarus's September 23 elections failed to meet international standards and that authorities arbitrarily detained and imprisoned citizens for criticizing officials or for participating in demonstrations.

It said these actions show that Belarus has not taken steps toward democratic governance and respect for human rights.
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