The US on Thursday imposed restrictions on dealings in new is¬suances of Belarusian sovereign debt and expanded sanctions on the country, targeting dozens of individuals and entities, in action coordinated with partners including the EU.
Washington increased pressure on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, targeting the country’s defence, security and potash sectors as well as officials and Lukashenko’s son in the move aimed at making Belarus accountable for orchestrating a migrant crisis in Europe.The action coordinated with Canada, Britain and the EU comes as EastWest ten¬sions have risen over the refugee crisis on the borders between Belarus, a Russian ally, and Poland and Lithuania. 
The U.S.Treasury Department in a statement accused the Lukashenko government of enabling corruption, human rights abuses and orchestrating irregular migration, among other accusations.
Belarus’ foreign ministry did not immediately reply to a Reuters’ request for comment.”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 transacting in, provision of and other dealings in new Belarusian sovereign debt with a maturity greater than 90 days issued on or after Thursday by the country’s finance ministry or Development Bank.
Washington also imposed sanctions on Belarus’s stateowned tourism company, Republican Unitary Enterprise Tsentrkurort, and seven Belarusian government officials over the migrant crisis.
EU countries have accused Belarus of creating a migrant standoff nL1N2SM0RR on the bloc’s eastern borders by encouraging thousands from the Middle East and Africa to try to cross into Poland and Lithuania, in revenge for Western sanctions on Minsk.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko denies doing so and pins the blame for the crisis on the EU.
Entities related to the potash sector were also blacklisted on Thursday.Britain targeted one of the world’s largest potash fertiliser producers, OJSC Belaruskali, while
Washington slapped sanctions on several entities in an effort to limit the financial benefits Lukashenko’s government derives from potash exports.
Washington had already blacklisted the staterun Belaruskali in August, but added the Belarus Potash Company, which handles the trading and exportation of potash, and another potash producer, Slavkali.
But the Treasury issued a general licence, authorising activities necessary for the wind down of transactions involving the Belarusian Potash Company or its subsidiary, Agrorozkvit LLC, until April 1. 
Belarus Potash Company did not immediately reply to a request for comment.Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Ottawa had imposed new sanctions on 24 individuals and seven entities“in response to the Belarusian regime’s ongoing and systematic human rights violations”.
 

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