The United States is “modernizing” its sanctions policy in the Western Balkans by further targeting corruption, human rights abuses, and acts that threaten democracy in the region, the State Department said.
“The United States recognizes that corruption threatens economic equity, global anti-poverty and development efforts, and democracy itself,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on June 8.
The updated policy came in the form of an executive order from President Joe Biden, expanding on two longtime decrees related to the Western Balkans.
The White House said the executive order provides for additional sanctions, including the targeting of individuals or entities threatening peace and stability in the region, undermining democratic processes, or engaging in serious human rights abuses and corruption.
Under the new policy, U.S. authorities will also be armed with the ability to sanction actors who violate or obstruct the implementation of regional agreements and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the successor to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
The presidential decree adds the 2018 Prespa Agreement resolving a dispute between Greece and North Macedonia as well as agreements that ended the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the previous list of regional agreements.