RESTRICTIVE MEASURES AGAINST OFFICIALS
OF BELARUS (8015/06)
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
The next meeting of the General Affairs and
External Relations Council (GAERC) is on 10 April 2005. At this
meeting Foreign Ministers are expected to agree a Common Position
setting out restrictive measures against certain officials of
Belarus following the Presidential election on 19 March. An Explanatory
Memorandum is attached (not printed).
Unfortunately it has not been possible before
now to submit this draft Common Position for scrutiny. Owing to
the Easter recess, this would have required depositing the text
by 23 March and the draft Common Position was not ready by then.
It was also unclear at that point precisely what restrictive measures
EU Member States would agree.
We are keen to send a strong message to the
Belarus Government as quickly as possible and are reluctant to
hold up agreement at the Council. I will therefore have to agree
to this Common Position at the GAERC before scrutiny can be completed.
I hope you will understand our reasons.
7 April 2006
Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Douglas
Thank you for your letter and Explanatory Memorandum
dated 7 April 2006. The documents were considered by Sub-Committee
C by written procedure during the week commencing 17 April.
We accept the need for an override in this instance
due to the need to impose further restrictive measures as soon
as possible following the Belarusian elections in March.
We also note the fact that this override occurred
during the Parliamentary recess. However, the Explanatory Memorandum
was sent on Friday 7 April and the GAERC took place on Monday
10 April therefore it would have been impossible for us to conduct
scrutiny of this item even had Parliament being sitting. We accordingly
take this opportunity to emphasise that the FCO should continue
to make strenuous efforts to ensure that during Parliamentary
sittings Explanatory Memoranda are deposited in sufficient time
to allow for proper scrutiny.
24 April 2006