Belarus calls off nuclear fuel swap programme with US

August 19th, 2011 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Minsk, Aug 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Belarus has suspended a joint programme for exchange of highly enriched nuclear fuel with the US in response to additional economic sanctions imposed by Washington, the Belarusian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Friday.

“The additional economic sanctions imposed by the US are out of tune with our cooperation,” said ministry’s spokesman Andrey Savinykh.

“Belarus has decided to put a halt to the joint programmes for the exchange of highly- enriched nuclear fuel. These programmes were created at the initiative of the American Energy Ministry whose goal was to reduce global threats. The creation of an MBA programme at Belarus State university will be stopped as well,” Savinykh said.

“We could take other response actions as well,” he said, adding Belarus will maintain material fuel security in accordance with its international non-proliferation obligations.

“We can reestablish cooperation if the USA stops imposing economic sanctions on Belarus and restore bilateral relations,” Savinykh said.

Belarus regards the US sanctions as groundless and illegal. “These are politically motivated actions,” he said.

The US and the EU imposed sanctions against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, as well as other officials and companies over the crackdown on the opposition following presidential elections last December.

On Aug 11, the US imposed additional sanctions against four major Belarusian state-owned enterprises.

Lukashenko granted pardons Aug 11 to nine of several dozen people convicted of taking part in the mass anti-government protests.

But the list of pardoned protesters does not include six former presidential candidates serving jail terms from two to five and a half years.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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