The European Union considers it possible to lift sanctions against Belarus, if the country shows tangible progress in the field of human rights and democracy, said the new head of the EU delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel.

According to him, sanctions are an EU way to express disagreement and criticism regarding the rule of law and democracy.

“When we see further progress in these areas, I think it will be possible to completely lift the sanctions.  We must work towards that goal. As I said, we have come a long way, and there are only a few restrictive measures left”, – Mr. Schuebel said.

He noted that the EU lifted most of the sanctions against Belarus in 2015 after the release of political prisoners. The head of the mission called it a “very positive step.”

Recall that the EU first imposed sanctions against Belarus in 2004, and an arms embargo — in 2011. Later, the EU lifted restrictions against 170 Belarusians, including President Lukashenko. At the same time, four security officials remained under sanctions. These are the former heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Naumov and Yuri Sivakov, the ex-secretary of the Security Council of the country Viktor Sheiman and the former head of the special rapid response unit of the ministry Dmitry Pavlichenko.

The day before, Lukashenko signed an agreement on simplification of visa regime between Belarus and the EU. The normalization of relations with Brussels goes hand in hand with the rapprochement between Minsk and Washington. According to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, the early exchange of ambassadors between Belarus and the United States will help to uncover “the full potential of bilateral relations”. Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov made it clear that these processes in the Kremlin are not considered alarming for Moscow.

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