European Union foreign ministers failed to agree sanctions against Belarusian officials on Monday with Cyprus blocking approval because it wants approval on sanctions against Turkey which illegally carries gas explorations within the island’s exclusive economic zone.
“Our reaction to any kind of violation of our core, basic values and principles cannot be a la carte. It needs to be consistent,” Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said in Brussels.
The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell, who chaired the meeting of foreign ministers, told reporters that there is a clear will to adopt the sanctions but the required unanimity was not reached. EU rules that all 27 states must agree.
Approval is still possible by EU leaders at a summit on Thursday and Borrell said that by the next time foreign ministers meet on Oct. 12, the sanctions would be agreed. But he also acknowledged the paralysis was damaging for the EU’s image.
“If we are not able to approve Belarus sanctions, then our credibility is at stake,” Borrell told a news conference.
While Cyprus demands new EU sanctions on Turkey over its dispute with Ankara, the bloc’s powerhouses Germany and France are at odds over how hard to go on President Tayyip Erdogan.
This further delays the prospects for the bloc’s swift reaction to the crisis in Belarus.