Raab: U.S. wants to see leadership from Europeans

FILE PHOTO: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington, U.S., September 16, 2020. Nicholas Kamm/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – The United States wants to see leadership from Europe in relation to issues like Belarus, rather than relying on the U.S. to move first with sanctions, British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Tuesday.

On Sept. 29, Britain and Canada imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, his son and other senior officials.

The sanctions were the first to be implemented by major Western powers over the crisis in Belarus where Lukashenko was named the landslide winner of an Aug. 9 presidential election his opponents say was stolen.

Days later, the United States followed with their own sanctions having waited for the European Union to move.

“I think there’s a feeling … that the Europeans will put out the communique, possibly even do some censure, but will pick fights on their doorstep that the U.S. has to ride in to resolve,” Raab told a parliamentary committee, referring to a recent trip to meet politicians in Washington.

“I think they want to see some leadership from Europe, so we tried to provide that with our Canadian friends and with the EU.”

Raab had indicated that he expected the U.S. would follow Britain and Canada’s sanctions, without acknowledging that the U.S. had already done so. Asked to comment, the foreign office pointed to an Oct. 3 tweet in which Raab said he welcomed the U.S. move.

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