U.S. restricts dealings in Belarusian sovereign debt, increases sanctions

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U.S. restricts dealings in Belarusian sovereign debt, increases sanctions
© Reuters/BelTA Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko chairs a meeting in Minsk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed restrictions on dealings in new issuances of Belarusian sovereign debt and expanded sanctions on the country, targeting 20 individuals and 12 entities, as Washington increases pressure on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement that the punitive actions were taken to impose costs on the Belarusian government for enabling corruption, human rights abuses and orchestrating irregular migration, among other accusations.

“The United States stands alongside its international partners and allies in imposing costs on the Lukashenka (sic) regime for its deplorable behavior, including migrant smuggling,” Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.

The Treasury issued a directive restricting Americans from transactions in, provision of and other dealings in new Belarusian sovereign debt with a maturity of greater than 90 days issued on or after Thursday by the country’s Ministry of Finance or Development Bank.

Washington also imposed sanctions on Belarus’ state-owned tourism company, Republican Unitary Enterprise Tsentrkurort, and seven Belarus government officials over the migrant crisis on the border of Belarus and Poland.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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