BRUSSELS - The European Union is likely on Monday to renew sanctions against individuals and companies linked to the Belarus government for another year because Minsk has not improved its civil rights record, an EU official and diplomats said.

Sanctions are part of a policy the EU calls "critical engagement" with the government of President Alexander Lukashenko - an attempt to push it to implement reforms.

Parliamentary elections in September were widely criticized as being a sham and the Belarus government conducts widespread harassment of its critics, including use of prison sentences or fines for minor offenses.

"The situation in Belarus has not improved," the EU official said on Friday.

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