İrem UZUN -TDO- EU foreign ministers are set to meet on Friday to discuss targeted sanctions against Belarus following Sunday's contested election and subsequent violent crackdown down on protesters, according to Sweden's top diplomat. The European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, on Tuesday condemned "disproportionate" violence by authorities in Belarus and said it was considering sanctions against those responsible.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde told Swedish radio on Wednesday that “I absolutely think we need to consider broadening targeted sanctions against those responsible for the violence against the protesters (and) for the election fraud - those involved in the electoral process not having turned out free and fair”. Germany and Lithuania have also called for renewed sanctions on Belarus after the authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in the presidential election. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday that “the European Union need to discuss very seriously whether in the context of the past weeks and above all the last days that still has standing, whether we may need to change this decision and do it very quickly.”

In 2016 the EU lifted most sanctions against the Lukashenko regime, citing “significant, even if limited” steps in the right direction, following the release of some political prisoners. The next European Council summit is set for September.

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