RIGA - Latvia and Estonia are still in the process of drafting their list of Belarusian officials to be sanctioned for their role in vote-rigging and violence against protesters, which is why the list will be published later than initially planned, Foreign Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica said today at a meeting of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee.
Kalnina-Lukasevica indicated that more time is needed to complete all the procedures necessary to approve the list, which is now scheduled for publication next week and not this Thursday, August 27, as was initially planned.
As reported, the Cabinet of Ministers decided yesterday to impose an entry ban on particular Belarusian officials. Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said that Latvia will impose the entry ban on some 30 Belarusian officials that are clearly responsible for rigging Belarus' recent presidential elections and violence against peaceful protesters.
In Rinkevics' words, the sanctions will basically target approximately 30 officials working at Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's office, the Central Election Commission, the Interior Ministry and the Security Committee. Rinkevics declined to comment whether the entry ban will also apply to Lukashenko,
The Latvian minister said that the government has not imposed financial sanctions, for instance, but opted for the entry ban as the decision has been coordinated with Lithuania and Estonia. The Baltic states' sanctions are not substituting the sanctions that are being readied by the European Union (EU), Rinkevics stressed.
"Our goal is EU sanctions. The government's decision therefore is based not on the national sanctions law but on the immigration law. We are taking this path to send a clear signal that we do not want to see a number of officials in our country and thus also urging the EU to work faster. We do not want to undermine the unity of the EU in taking such decisions by introducing precise sanctions," said Rinkevics.
Rinkevics would not yet specify which Belarusian officials will be denied entry into Latvia.