BRUSSELS, September 21. /TASS/. The foreign ministers of the European Union’s 27 member countries at a meeting on Monday failed to agree on a list of Belarusian officials who would face Brussels’ sanctions to be levied on the suspicion of election rigging, the use of violence and human rights violations. Cyprus continues to block the decision, because it wants the EU to impose sanctions on Turkey for its policies in the Mediterranean, a source in a European country’s delegation to the EU Council told TASS.
"Cyprus remains committed to its original stance. The ministers failed to agree a blacklist. The issue has now been postponed till the summit meeting due at the end of this week," he said.
The diplomat said it was easy to predict the Council’s meeting would produce no agreement. "The ambassador level meetings over the past weeks showed that the situation is no simple. As you may know, the ambassadors’ latest meeting was on Friday and it ended inconclusively, so it was very easy to predict there will be no agreement at the Council’s session on Monday. Now the issue will be discussed at the summit meeting on Thursday and Friday," the source explained.
The EU foreign ministers met urgently on August 14 to impose sanctions on Belarusian officials and instructed the diplomatic services concerned to draw up a corresponding blacklist. However, it is for more than a month now that the EU has been unable to produce a decision, because Cyprus demands sanctions against Turkey due to its policies in the Mediterranean.
Originally, it was expected that the blacklist would be agreed at the ambassador level by the EU Council’s session on September 21 and the ministers would merely approve it. However, at their latest meeting on Friday the diplomats failed to persuade Cyprus, so the blacklist had remained unauthorized by the time the foreign ministers gathered on Monday. The diplomats say that on the proposed blacklist there are 40 Belarusian officials, but it may still be changed before the final decision is made.