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EU may bolster sanctions on Belarus: Official

EU may bolster sanctions on Belarus after a poll which handed a crushing victory to President Lukashenko.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 17:04 IST

The European Union is "very likely" to bolster sanctions on Belarus after a weekend poll which handed a crushing victory to President Alexander Lukashenko, a senior EU official said on Monday.

The comments by EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner came shortly after the bloc's Austrian presidency had lamented a climate of intimidation clouding the elections in the former Soviet republic.

"From what we have seen so far my view is some action is now very likely indeed," said Ferrero-Waldner, who has warned repeatedly in recent weeks that the EU could strengthen sanctions if it was not happy about the Belorussian presidential election.

Speaking to reporters as EU foreign ministers discussed Belarus at scheduled talks in Brussels, she said there was unlikely to be any immediate decision, adding that the EU was waiting for a report by election monitors due later in the day.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 17:04 IST