US has extended the suspension of sanctions against some Belarusian companies for six months, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Bridget Brink told the media on Tuesday.
The decision applies to the following companies: Belarusian Oil Trade House, Belneftekhim, Belneftekhim USA, Inc., Belshina, Grodno Azot, Grodno Khimvolokno, Lakokraska, Naftan, Polotsk Steklovolokno.
The decision is motivated by the results of the parliamentary elections, Brink said.
“We noted that they were peaceful, and observed some improvements. Alternative candidates will be represented in the parliament for the first time in 12 years.”
The official expressed hope that the opposition MPs will be able to “use their mandate without restrictions”.
However, she added, OSCE observers reported that serious problems with the implementation of international commitments by Belarus remain. In order for the US-Belarus relations to improve, futher progress in the sphere of human rights is needed. Bridget Brink took notice about this point several times while talking to journalists.
When asked to clarify what improvements Washington is waiting for, the official recalled OSCE recommendations regarding the formation of election observer commissions, and more transparency for domestic and international observers during the votes count.
On Tuesday, October 18, Bridget Brink met the with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei, opposition activists, human rights defenders and representatives of civil society. She described those meetings as positive.
— Belarus MFA (@BelarusMFA) October 18, 2016
In April, 2016, the US prolonged its decison to lift sanctions from Belarusian companies. The autorizations will expire of October 21, 2016.
Restrictive measures against major Belarusian companies were imposed in 2006. In August 2011 Naftan, Grodno Azot and Grodno Khimvolokno were added to the sanctions list.