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Canada announces more sanctions on Belarus as opposition leader visits Ottawa

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya pose for cameras as they shake hands before a meeting, Monday, April 15, 2024 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya pose for cameras as they shake hands before a meeting, Monday, April 15, 2024 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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Canada is imposing more sanctions on officials in Belarus as the country's exiled opposition leader visits Ottawa.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly has laid sanctions on 21 people accused on human-rights violations in Belarus since its 2020 presidential election, which was widely denounced as fraudulent.

The eastern European country has maintained many Soviet Union-era restrictions and policies and is often dubbed the continent's last dictatorship.

The Liberals announced the latest round of sanctions on Belarus as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Parliament Hill.

Global Affairs Canada says the sanctions target senior government officials, including prosecutors, security officials and administrators of penal colonies for peaceful protesters of corruption and autocracy.

Trudeau says Ottawa also funds civil-society organizations trying to advocate for democracy in Belarus, including independent media.

“As democratic principles are backsliding, are under attack from misinformation, disinformation and propaganda, your continued efforts are admirable and important,” Trudeau told Tsikhanouskaya in his office at the beginning of their Monday morning meeting.

She thanked Trudeau for Canada's “awesome support and solidarity” in weakening the regime in Belarus, saying her people want the same freedoms Canadians enjoy every day.

“No one war, no one fight can (be) won when you're alone. And on this path, we need strong allies, strong partners like Canada, for us not to feel abandoned,” she said.

“It's really walking a long and difficult path, and of course we want you to go (down) this path together with us.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2024.

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