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Belarus condemns U.S. sanctions, considers response

MINSK, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus said on Wednesday that U.S. sanctions against petrochemical company Belneftekhim violated international agreements and would force the country to seek retaliatory measures.

Washington, which has dubbed the ex-Soviet state "Europe's last dictatorship," banned all dealings on Tuesday between Americans and the state-owned firm, and froze the company's assets under U.S. jurisdiction.


"Belarus believes the use of unilateral economic sanctions as means of political pressure, which affect the [Belarusian] economy and have a negative impact on international economic ties in general, is unacceptable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Popov told a news conference.


"We appeal to the U.S. administration to give up the practice of intimidation and pressure with regard to our country and to pursue a policy of equal and mutually beneficial relations... Taking into account the unfriendly U.S. measures, Belarus will have to respond appropriately," Popov said, without elaborating.


Popov said the U.S. had violated a series of international accords, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which it pledged not to apply economic pressure on Belarus for political motives, and a bilateral trade agreement promising better access to the U.S. market for Belarusian goods and services.


The United States and the European Union have accused Belarus's president, Alexander Lukashenko, of clamping down on dissent, stifling the media and rigging elections. Lukashenko, who was re-elected to a third term last year, and other senior Belarusian officials have been blacklisted from entering the U.S. and EU.


Belneftekhim processes mainly Russian crude. The company plans to start producing and refining oil in Venezuela, and to sell it on Latin American markets. It has a U.S. subsidiary, Belneftekhim USA.

RIA Novosti

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