The European Union has lifted restrictive sanctions on 170 Belarus officials to reward the east European nation for its constructive role in the region but maintained the arms embargo for another year.

Asset freeze and travel ban measures against the 170 had already been suspended last year and a meeting of the EU foreign ministers decided to do away with them on Monday.

At the same time, the EU nations maintained sanctions against four indivduals liked to unsolved disappearances.

In a statement, the ministers said that the least of all remaining political prisoners and the lack of violence during the October presidential elections contributed to the decision.