Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Belarus vs The EU

In response to continued sanctions from the European Union, Belarus has ordered the Polish and EU ambassadors to leave the country. The sanctions began after the last election in December 2010, that is considered by many to have been fixed. Many who protested the final vote are still imprisoned. The latest sanctions were in response to Belarus's poor record on human rights.

Germany has led a call for all EU nations to respond by pulling their ambassadors out of Belarus. "This is the last dictatorship, this is the last dictator in Europe, and we will not let ourselves be intimidated by such actions against one European institutions or against one member state," German Foreign Affairs Minister Guido Westerwelle said. "The European Union and Poland can rely on Germany's solidarity. We will not let others divide us. The dictator fools himself when he thinks he can divide us. We will react together. I suggest that we all recall our ambassadors from Belarus to our capitals. This is what Germany will do."

The United States also has sanctions against the Belarus's leadership. In December 2011, a year after the questioned elections, the US expanded their own sanctions, but with little complaint from Belarus. It is unknown if the US will join the EU in pulling their ambassador, but it is very possible as the two groups have been working closer and closer together on many subjects, including Iran and Syria.

President Alexander Lukashenko has had run ins with the US and EU before. Nor is this the only election under him to be challenged. During the 2010 elections, other candidates were attacked, kidnapped, and or arrested by police. Since first being elected in 1994, he has officially gained all but total control, and wields authoritarian powers without challenge from the rest of the government.