Belarus: Background and U.S. Policy Options [Updated April 5, 2005]   [open pdf - 63KB]

From the Document: "U.S. officials have sharply criticized Lukashenko as "Europe's last dictator." They have also expressed concerns about Belarus's arms sales and other ties to rogue regimes, such Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The United States pursues a policy of "selective engagement," which limits ties to the regime, while providing modest support to pro-democracy organizations in Belarus. The 108th Congress responded to the situation in Belarus with legislation. In the first session of the 108th Congress, the Belarus Democracy Act (H.R. 854 and S. 700) was introduced. On February 25, 2004, the House International Relations Committee approved a modified version of the bill. The bill authorizes aid for pro-democracy forces in Belarus and funding for increased broadcasting to Belarus by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The bill supports sanctions on Belarus and top leaders of the Lukashenko regime until Belarus meets specific democratic and human rights criteria. The bill also requires the President to report within 90 days and every year thereafter on the sale by Belarus of weapons or weapons-related assistance to regimes supporting terrorism, and on the personal wealth of Lukashenko and other senior Belarusian leaders. The President signed the modified Belarus Democracy Act on October 20, 2004 (P.L. 108-347)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32534
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