Following the recent, closely watched elections in Belarus, in which President Alexander Lukashenko was elected to his fifth term in office, both the US and EU adopted measures suspending some economic sanctions against the country. On 30 October 2015, the Council published Council Implementing Regulation 2015/1948 which suspends financial sanctions, including asset freezes, imposed against certain individuals, entities and bodies under Council Regulation (EC) 765/2006. The sanctions will remain in force for four months until 29 February 2016, but their application is suspended for 171 individuals and 10 entities on the list.
Sanctions are not suspended for four individuals involved in “unresolved disappearances” in Belarus. The Council also published Council Implementing Regulation 2015/1949 which delists four entities and modifies the details of various other entities which remain on the list.
For its part, the US adopted a new General License suspending blocking sanctions against nine Belarusian entities previously designated under Executive Order 13405 of 16 June 2006 and listed on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. Effective 30 October 2015, and for a six-month period (unless extended or revoked), the general license authorizes US persons to engage in transactions involving those entities that were previously prohibited under EO 13405. Importantly, the general license does not release any previously blocked property and does not authorize any transactions involving property of the covered entities that was blocked under EO 13405 prior to 30 October 2015.