Today, the United States imposed additional, new economic sanctions against four major Belarusian state-owned enterprises: the Belshina tire factory; Grodno Azot, which manufactures fertilizer; Grodno Khimvolokno, a fiber manufacturer; and Naftan, a major oil refinery. These four entities have been determined to be owned or controlled by the Belneftekhim conglomerate, an entity already designated under Executive Order 13405. The intent to levy additional sanctions was announced by President Obama on May 27 to respond to the continued incarceration of political prisoners and crackdown on political activists, journalists and civil society representatives. The new sanctions augment the travel restrictions, asset freezes and sanctions announced on January 31. These measures target those responsible for the repression in Belarus following the December 19 presidential elections.
The United States, in concert with our European partners, will continue to monitor developments in Belarus and to take measures to hold accountable those responsible for the repression of fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. These U.S. actions are not directed at the people of Belarus. An integral component of U.S. policy has been to increase support for the people of Belarus as they seek to build a modern, democratic and prosperous society. We reiterate our call on the Government of Belarus to release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners.
The notification of these sanctions by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is located at: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20110811.aspx.