European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to impose sanctions on President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus, widely seen as having stolen the recent election — but they also appeared to offer him a way out of the penalties.
The proposed sanctions must first go through legal vetting and may not be implemented if Mr. Lukashenko engages in serious talks with the opposition about new elections and eases a crackdown against protesters.
Some 40 Belarusian officials have already faced an asset freeze and a travel ban. After a violent confrontation in Belarus on Sunday in which the police used water cannons and arrested more than 700 protesters, the E.U. foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, agreed to expand the list to include the authoritarian president and others.