News Local Cyprus stalls EU's Belarus sanctions plan, wants parallel action against Turkey

Cyprus stalls EU’s Belarus sanctions plan, wants parallel action against Turkey

Plans by the European Union to slap sanctions on Belarus have fallen into disarray after Cyprus said it will not agree unless the block also puts sanctions on its neighbour, Turkey, in a separate row that has raised tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The EU had vowed three weeks ago to impose sanctions on Belarus for alleged election fraud and human rights abuses.

Cyprus said this week it cannot support sanctions against Belarus officials on a list that was drawn up after the contested Aug. 9 election unless action is taken in parallel against Turkey.

“We have no alternative but to act the way we are acting,” said a Cypriot diplomat. “We have no issues with imposing sanctions on Belarus but we consider that we had a political understanding for both processes to go forward in parallel.”

Cyprus wants the EU to impose further sanctions against companies and individuals in Turkey which carries out drillings within  the Mediterranean island’s exclusive territorial waters over the past year now.

Turkey began drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus last year despite warnings from Brussels, and fears of a military escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean have mounted after NATO allies Greece and Turkey held naval drills in the area.

Cyprus has been frustrated that some EU countries, including Germany, are reluctant to antagonise Turkey and lean towards dialogue, trade and visa links to calm the situation.

The dispute has brought to a head other tensions, from Turkey’s involvement in Syria and Libya to what the EU says is growing authoritarianism under President Tayyip Erdogan.

EU foreign ministers meeting next Monday will try to find a way through what one senior EU diplomat called “the single most worrying issue for the EU in the coming days”.

A Cypriot diplomat said he had low expectations for any agreement by the leaders on how to deal with Turkey.

“I have serious doubts about having this summit,” the Cypriot diplomat said. “I think it will show the Turks our divisions rather than show them that we are serious about it.”

 

Top Stories

Europe braces for lengthy battle with Covid, as winter looms

  Europe faces a lengthy battle against the coronavirus at least until mid-2021, France warned, as anxious governments introduced even more restrictions to curb the...

Turkey continues provocations with a series of Navtex

  Turkey continued raising the ante in the Eastern Mediterranean, by issuing a series of illegal maritime advisories for the region. The first two NAVTEX are...

Temperatures on the up, 35 today as dust remains

  A warm air current is still affecting the region, with thin dust persisting in the atmosphere and not clearing before Monday. Clear skies initially today...

160 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

The Health Ministry announced 160 new COVID-19 cases on 23 October, out of 4,327 laboratory tests, taking confirmed infections to 3,314. The break-down of new...

Health Ministry insists there is confirmed case among American Center staff

The Health Ministry replied to the denial of the American Medical Center regarding a confirmed case among its staff. In an announcement the Ministry noted...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...