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Mogherini says no EU member state proposed sanctions on Russia over Syria

Mogherini says no EU member state proposed sanctions on Russia over Syria

Mogherini says no EU member state proposed sanctions on Russia over Syria
October 17
13:34 2016

The EU countries’ top diplomats comment on possible sanctions against Russia over Syria

None of the European Union’s member states has proposed introducing sanctions against Russia because of the Syrian crisis, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said on Monday.

“This is not being proposed by any member state. I’ve seen this has been very much on the media but not in our meetings. In none of our meetings this issue was raised by any member states,” Mogherini said.

“But we have sanctions on the Syrian regime,” she said, adding that sanctions was not the only instrument in the European Union’s toolbox.

“Today the main issue with which we will work is obviously Syria. I will propose to the ministers some ideas on why and how the European Union can support more and better the work on the future of Syria,” Mogherini said.

She said the Syrian crisis will be discussed together with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura who had been invited to the Luxembourg meeting.

“The European Union is not a military player on the ground in Syria … but we encourage and we support all initiatives that lead or can lead to a cessation of hostilities,” Mogherini said.

Consensus impossible

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn stressed the European Union won’t be able to reach a consensus if Brussels suggests introducing sanctions against Russia over the events in Syria.

“First, we won’t come to a consensus, second, I believe it’s a wrong moment now, this is counterproductive,” Asselborn said.

“There are other means,” he said. “The Americans and the Russians are again talking to each other.” “The EU doesn’t have a button that can press so that all this ends,” he added.

Asselborn also stressed that “this is unacceptable when hundreds of thousands of civilians are under threat because of several hundred gunmen.” “This is disproportionate and inhuman,” he said.

Austria opposes extra sanctions

The introduction of additional sanctions against Moscow now would be a wrong move, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said on Monday.

“I believe the idea on introducing additional sanctions against Russia now is wrong,” Kurz said upon arrival for the EU Council’s meeting in Luxembourg at the level of foreign ministers.

Berlin skeptical about sanctions

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told journalists Berlin is uncertain about imposing the sanctions.

“I don’t see how the potential sanctions, despite some possible impact in the long term, would facilitate the aid deliveries to the Syrian people,” the German minister said.

“I am not the only one who is skeptical about sanctions in this regard,” Steinmeier stated.

Open dialogue needed

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said  a political solution to Syria’s crisis demands a wide and open dialogue with Russia.

“For a political settlement in Syria, the EU needs to maintain a wide and open dialogue with Russia and other parties,” he stressed.

Reynders also called upon EU member states “to fight the atmosphere of lawlessness in Syria,” but did not elaborate whom the fight should be against.

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Irina Dashkina

Irina Dashkina

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