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World News

Belarus accuses U.N. rights council of meddling, says it would retaliate against EU sanctions

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Belarus Foreign Ministry on Friday described as a “dangerous precedent” a resolution by the U.N. Human Rights Council calling for U.N. monitoring of alleged rights violations in Belarus, and accused the council of meddling in its internal affairs.

The Human Rights Council agreed the resolution, submitted by the European Union, on Friday. The Council gave the office of U.N. rights boss Michelle Bachelet a mandate to closely monitor the situation in Belarus and submit an oral report with recommendations by year-end.

Speaking to reporters, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei described the resolution as “absolutely contrived”.

The resolution, in response to a crackdown on protests since a disputed presidential election in Belarus on Aug. 9, came after a long day of talks by the 47-member state forum in Geneva on the human rights situation in the former Soviet republic.

Belarus objected to the debate but is not currently a member of the council and could not block the resolution.

Makei also addressed the possibility of sanctions being introduced against Minsk by the European Union, saying a response was inevitable.

“Of course, we will be obliged to respond adequately,” Makei was cited as saying, in comments published on the foreign ministry’s website.

“There will, of course, be both personal sanctions against the representatives of various EU structures, as well as against representatives of various EU member states,” he was cited as saying.

He also said Belarus’ response to possible sanctions could affect the accreditation granted to representatives of international media outlets allowing them to operate within the country.

Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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