Canada, Britain impose sanctions on Belarus, president over 'fraudulent' election

OTTAWA — Canada has imposed sanctions on the president of Belarus and his government over what it says was a fraudulent election.

Canada imposed the sanctions in conjunction with Britain against officials in the Belarusian government, including President Alexander Lukashenko, who is facing widespread accusations of winning a rigged ballot.

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Belarus has witnessed wide-scale protests and violence since the Aug. 9 reelection of Lukashenko, an authoritarian leader.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has called the election result fraudulent and said free and fair elections must take place in Belarus.

Last week at the UN General Assembly, the foreign minister of Belarus warned Western countries not to impose sanctions.

Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei told the virtual meeting of world leaders that interference in his country’s internal affairs would be harmful for everyone.

"Canada will not stand by silently as the government of Belarus continues to commit systematic human rights violations and shows no indication of being genuinely committed to finding a negotiated solution with opposition groups," Champagne said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Canada and the United Kingdom are acting together to ensure these sanctions have a greater impact and to demonstrate unity in our condemnation of the situation."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.

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