US Issues Directive Restricting Transactions in Belarusian Sovereign Debt

© AP Photo / Patrick SemanskyThis June 6, 2019, file photo shows the U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk in Washington. The U.S. Treasury has removed Vietnam and Switzerland from the list of nations labeled as currency manipulators, reversing a decision made by the Trump administration in December
This June 6, 2019, file photo shows the U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk in Washington.  The U.S. Treasury has removed Vietnam and Switzerland from the list of nations labeled as currency manipulators, reversing a decision made by the Trump administration in December - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.12.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Treasury Department has issued a directive to restrict transactions in Belarusian sovereign debt with with a maturity period of more than 90 days.
"[T]he following activities by US persons or within the United States are prohibited… : all transactions in, provision of financing for, and other dealings in new debt with a maturity of greater than 90 days issued on or after December 2, 2021 by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus," the directive said.

The directive also prohibits any activities aimed at evading its provisions while all other activities with the listed Belarusian government bodies are permitted.
The US government also has imposed sanctions on 20 Belarusian citizens, including on Dmitry Lukashenko, the son of President Alexander Lukashenko. In addition, the US government added 12 Belarusian entities and three aircraft to its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.
The United Kingdom also imposed new sanctions against Belarus targeting Belaruskali, a state-owned major potash fertilizer producer, and eight individuals.

"Alongside our US, Canadian and EU allies, the UK has imposed fresh sanctions on eight Belarusian individuals responsible for repression and human rights violations. An asset freeze on OJSC Belaruskali, one of the world’s largest producers of potash fertiliser, will target a major source of revenue and foreign currency for the [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko regime," the government said in a statement.
The European Union imposed new sanctions against Belarus that target Belava, Syrian airline Cham Wings, Belarusian judges and employees of the border service.

"Open Joint Stock Company "Belavia" is the State-owned national flag carrier airline. Aliaksandr Lukashenka promised that his administration would provide all possible support to Belavia after the Union decided to introduce a prohibition on the overflight of Union airspace and on access to Union airports by all Belarusian air carriers. To that end, he agreed with the Russian President Vladimir Putin on planning the opening of new airline routes for Belavia," the EU’s document said on reasons for imposing sanctions against Belavia.

The EU also said that Cham Wings "contributes to activities by the Lukashenka regime that facilitate the illegal crossing of the external borders of the Union".
The new EU sanctions against Belarus are coming into force on Thursday.
Canada has joined the United States, the EU and the United Kingdom in imposing new sanctions against Belarusian individuals and entities, the joint statement says.

"Today, in response to the continuing attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Belarus, the disregard for international norms and the repeated acts of repression, we have again taken coordinated sanctions action against certain individuals and entities," the statement said.

The signatories urged Minsk to halt "'its orchestrating of irregular migration" across its borders with the EU. "Those -in Belarus or in third countries - who facilitate illegal crossing of the EU’s external borders should know this comes at a substantial cost," they said.

The statement also calls on Belarus to release about 900 political prisoners immediately and without any conditions. "The regime should promptly enter into comprehensive and genuine political dialogue with representatives of the democratic opposition and civil society, facilitated by the OSCE, leading to new, free and fair presidential elections under international observation," it added.
Belarus has been facing several packages of Western sanctions following the August 2020 presidential election that brought victory to the country's long-time president Alexander Lukashenko. Neither the EU nor the US recognised the legitimacy of his re-election, claiming that the results had been rigged. Furthermore, relations between Minsk and Europe deteriorated amid an influx of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, who have arrived at the Belarusian-Polish border in the hope of entering the EU but Poland denied them entry and put the blame for the migrant crisis on Belarus, claiming that Minsk had been deliberately transporting refugees to the EU border and using them as a weapon in a "hybrid war". Belarus has strongly rejected the allegations, saying that it simply cannot cope with the influx of migrants due to the pressure of the previous economic sanctions imposed by the West.
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