The Belarusian crisis remains on the agenda of the West; new sanctions are on the way
The UN has become the arena of rhetorical confrontation between the Lukashenka regime and Western countries. However, Minsk has also used this platform to test the ground for possible mediation by individual Western countries. Meanwhile, a new package of sanctions is under discussion.
Speaking at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, US President Joe Biden mentioned Belarus along with such authoritarian regimes as Myanmar, Cuba, Venezuela, confirming the status of Belarus in US eyes.
In response, within the framework of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei met with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and informed him about the development of the Belarusian political situation and the process of constitutional reform. However, he was also forced to defend himself in connection with accusations against Minsk of provoking a migration crisis.
Makei also attempted to intimidate Western countries by claiming that sanctions against Belaruskali could lead to higher prices and lower agricultural yields. He called for abandoning sanctions that contradict international obligations, including the UN 2030 plan and the organisation’s charter.
The rhetorical exchange continued in Geneva at the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet criticised the actions of the Belarusian authorities, to which Yury Ambrazevich countered that the West is waging a hybrid war against Belarus.
The harsh rhetoric against Western countries does not preclude attempts to establish relations with the West through intermediaries. Makei held talks with the foreign ministers of seven countries, including Finland and Turkey, who (he hopes) can act as mediators in the dialogue between the Belarusian regime and the West.
These tactics are in reaction to a new package of sanctions in response to the refusal of the regime to negotiate, the continuation of torture and repression, and the orchestration of the migration crisis in neighbouring countries. The fifth package of EU economic sanctions under discussion may include restrictions against five banks - Belarusbank, Dobrobyt, Belinvestbank, Belagroprombank and the Development Bank, as well as Beltelecom and the timber industry. This package may be adopted simultaneously by the European Union and the United States. In addition, the United States will begin anti-corruption investigations against Belarusian oligarchs seek to block trade and economic ties between the Lukashenka regime and the Gulf countries, primarily the United Arab Emirates.
If the Belarusian authorities do not take new significant de-escalation steps in the coming weeks, Western countries will strengthen and expand sanctions pressure on Belarus, which will further escalate the crisis in relations.