19 Oct 2023 16:03

Belarus cannot evacuate its citizens from Mideast because of U.S. sanctions - foreign minister

MINSK. Oct 19 (Interfax) - Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik has blamed the United States and its sanctions for problems with the evacuation of Belarusian citizens from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict zone in the Middle East.

While the Israeli authorities have given their permission to a Belavia humanitarian flight, Belarus still cannot perform it because of the sanctions, he said.

"The only obstacle remaining now is the U.S. sanctions against our national air carrier," Belarus's state news agency BelTA quoted Aleinik as saying.

While the situation surrounding Belarusian citizens in the Middle East conflict zone is not easy, the Foreign Ministry "is handling these issues," he said.

He also called for ceasing the hostilities in the Middle East as soon as possible. "We are shocked by the growing number of fatalities and other casualties among civilians, [including] women and children, resulting from the escalation of the Middle East conflict," Aleinik said.

"The scope of this tragedy, the scope of civilian fatalities, and the hospital blast in the Gaza Strip are inhuman and horrible in their essence. Attacks on civilian populations are unacceptable," he said.

"We believe that continuing escalation, terror, and disproportionate use of force, including against civilians, could lead to irreversible consequences not only in the Middle Eastern region, but also around the world as a whole," he said.

Belarus has always favored an exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict, Aleinik said.

"Bloodshed must be stopped, and combat must be stopped. The world is expecting a ceasefire and the cessation of bloodshed," he said.