USA, EU declare Belarus officials personas non grata

The Belarus administration has not released any comments on the matter yet

The USA and EU declared several Belarus politicians personas non grata. The authorities of the Netherlands – the country which presently holds the EU presidency – announced yesterday that they did not want to see several politicians of Belarus on the territory of the European Union. The entry was banned for Interior Affairs Minister Vladimir Naumov, Prosecutor General Viktor Sheyman, Minister for Sports Yury Sivakov and Colonel Dmitry Pavlichenko, a high-ranking officer from the Belarus Interior Ministry.

The USA joined the European initiative too. State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said that the USA welcomed the decision of the European Union to close borders for Belarus officials. Ereli added that America would make its own steps according to the US law, not to let those official persons enter the US territory.

The EU and US suspect the above-mentioned Belarus politicians of being involved in the disappearance of Belarus opposition leaders in 1999-2000: Interior Affairs Mnister Yury Zakharenko, former chairman of the Belarus Central Electoral Committee Viktor Gonchar, businessman Anatoly Krasovsky and Russian journalist Dmitry Zavadsky. The information about the implication of Belarus officials in those disappearances was exposed in a report from the Council of Europe in May of the current year. According to the report, Belarus politicians impeded the process of the investigation too. The European Union persistently recommended Belarus should conduct an investigation of its own, but the Belarus authorities did not fulfill the request.

Both Europe and the State urge the Belarus administration to look into the matter of disappeared opposition leaders. Minks, however, has not released any comments yet. Belarus officials are used to international scandals, though. Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, was banned from entering the EU last year. This year, the EU attempted to bar Yury Sivakov, the Sports Minister, from visiting Athens during the Summer Olympics.

Alina Kalinina

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Author`s name Olga Savka