British Syrian Organization Asks Parliament to Expand Sanctions Against Belarus

Jan 16, 2013, 08:22 ET from Syrians in the UK

LONDON, Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Syrians in the UK, an association of Syrians living in the United Kingdom, appealed to members of the UK Parliament, urging MPs to stop Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko from acting as a banker and a trade intermediary for Syria and Iran and to curb his ability to support other dictators.

"The UK is one of Belarus' top trading partners, despite existing sanctions. We hope the Parliament will stop the UK firms from trading with the regime which is likely helping the genocide in Syria," the letter states.

"President Lukashenko's regime not only continues systematic violations of human rights, but, according to investigation by the Italian daily La Stampa and other media reports, is probably offering banking and financial services to the regimes of Bashar Al-Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to help them avoid international sanctions and receive foreign exchange earnings, as well as acting as an arms trade intermediary for these regimes."

Belarus openly supported the ostracized colonel, shipping weapons to the Muammar Qaddafi regime, according to recent reports.  The influential Italian daily La Stampa published an investigative report in November 2012 that found, citing an unnamed source in the US intelligence community, that Belarus was a major transfer point for shipping state-of-the-art S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran, and, probably, Syria. This is corroborated by the Russian Defense Ministry data, which names Belarus as the major purchaser of military equipment and technology from Russia in the former Soviet Union, absolutely out of proportion with the small land-locked country's size and defence needs. Alexander Lukashenko has always supported Bashar al-Assad's regime. In a recent interview for the British newspaper Independent, Lukashenko described the actions of Syrian insurgents and European countries' support for them as a "crime."

"We are asking you to consider expanding sanctions against Belarus and taking other political measures to stop Belarus from providing financial services and sophisticated modern weaponry to the regimes of Bashar Al-Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Most of the profits received by these regimes are directed to continuing genocide against the people. In Syria alone, thousands of civilians were killed by brutal Assad regime," the letter states.

Syrians in the UK, an organization active in supporting human rights and democracy in Syria and around the world, recently appealed to the UK Parliament to investigate the possibility of Bashar Al-Assad's plans to seek asylum in Belarus.

Syrians in the UK
Boulos Kuzbari 
+44 (0) 020 8133 3275

SOURCE Syrians in the UK