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GREEK NEWS

Cyprus Under Fire for Vetoing EU Sanctions on Belarus

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Chistodulides gestures at the EU’s foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday. Credit: Permanent Representation of Cyprus to the EU

Cyprus on Monday blocked the proposed EU sanctions against Belarus citing the bloc’s inaction over Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The sanctions were being considered in response to the election that saw Lukashenko –considered the last European dictator — elected to a sixth term in office, and the Minsk government’s tough response to protesters who dispute the result.

Cyprus had wanted the sanctions to be tied to sanctions against Turkey due illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

Foreign Minister Nikos Chistodulides said that the EU’s response to any kind of violations of core values and principles cannot be a la carte. “EU needs to be consistent,” he added.

“Although there is a clear will to adopt those sanctions, it has not been possible to do that today because the required unanimity was not reached,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after chairing a foreign ministers’ meeting.

Baltic neighbors Lithuania, which is hosting Belarus’ exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikanouskaya, expressed disappointment at Cyprus’ veto. Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius that the failure to agree on sanctions “undermines credibility and democratic values.” He also warned Cyprus “not to link things that must not be linked.”

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted that it “sends a wrong signal to Belarusians, our societies and the whole world.

 

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