May 14, 2006

EU to freeze Belarus leadership assets-paper

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union will freeze the
assets of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and more
than 30 high-ranking officials from the country, the Financial
Times Deutschland reported on Sunday.

According to a preview of an article due to appear in the
paper's Monday edition, the move has been planned for weeks,
and will be formally approved by the EU in the next few days.

The FTD said the EU had aimed to rubber stamp the sanction
on Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

But since the resolution had not yet been formally
translated into all EU languages, the FTD said the freeze would
probably not be confirmed until a later meeting -- even though
there was agreement on the matter, according to EU diplomats.

The EU said last month it was considering freezing the
Belarusian assets, following a decision by the bloc to ban
Lukashenko and the same 30 ministers, prosecutors and regional
election officials from entering the 25-nation community.

EU foreign ministers said they had imposed the ban on the
officials for allegedly rigging Belarus's March 19 presidential
election and for cracking down on opposition activists.