Natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea, Syrian refugees and sanctions against Lukashenko. How Cyprus is taking the EU hostage
The foreign ministers of 27 EU member countries have agreed on a list of 40 high-ranking Belarusian officials to sanction for falsifying the elections and repressing their own people. However, they were unable to introduce these sanctions due to an entirely different issue unrelated to Belarus.
26 ministers spoke in favor of the sanctions, and one against – the representative of Cyprus, reports a Novaya Gazeta correspondent in Brussels. But according to the rules of the European Union, the decision to impose sanctions can only be made unanimously.
Cyprus does not disagree with other EU members’ assessments of the situation in Belarus. But he says he will vote for the sanctions under one condition: if the European Union condemns Turkey’s actions in the Mediterranean.
This refers to the conflict over a giant gas field in the eastern Mediterranean, primarily involving Cyprus and Greece on one side, and Turkey on the other. Both sides insist that they have the right to develop the area.
The EU is trying to avoid confrontation with Turkey. The main reason for this is that there are about three million refugees from Syria in Turkey. In the event that relations go sour, Turkish President Erdogan threatens to stop housing them, in which case the refugees will rush into Europe. This is a fear on everyone’s mind, above all Germany, which now holds the presidency of the European Union.
High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell says that the issue of sanctions against the Lukashenka regime was taken hostage, and that now, he has taken on personal responsibility for making sure the sanctions are approved.
This week, the issue of sanctions against Lukashenko, now linked to the gas conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean, will be discussed by the military delegations of Turkey and Greece at NATO headquarters, and then by the heads of the EU member states.