the EU must use ‘all means at its disposal’ against Lukashenko

Brussels / Madrid, Dec 17 (EFE) .- The High Representative for Foreign Policy of the European Union (EU), Josep Borrell, asks the Twenty-seven to act ‘with all available means’ against the Belarusian regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko, for his repression against the demonstrators protesting against the electoral result.

‘We cannot accept that situation. We have to continue putting pressure with all the means at our disposal, ‘says Borrell in a telematic interview with the president of EFE, Gabriela Cañas.

In response to the crackdown, the EU included Lukashenko himself on its sanctions list on 6 November, as well as his son, Viktor Lukashenko, his father’s adviser on national security.

In total, the list includes 59 people – who are prohibited from entering Community territory and their assets in the EU have been frozen – and the Twenty-seven are finalizing a new enlargement. However, Borrell acknowledges that “there is not much progress.”

“Mr. Lukashenko continues to have power, he controls the country, the administration, the police,” says the head of European diplomacy, who points out that “the repression has been very strong” and “there are more than 1,500 people in jail, prisoners politicians cataloged as such ‘.

Beyond sanctions, the EU is trying to help the opposition and the independent Belarusian press, says the former Spanish foreign minister.

Part of that support was experienced this Wednesday in the European Parliament with the delivery of the Sakharov Prize for freedom of conscience, which the European Parliament awarded to the Belarusian opposition, led by Svetlana Tijanóvskaya, the leader who contested Lukashenko’s presidency.

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But “today,” says Borrell, “Lukashenko continues to have the support of Russia and continues to refuse to participate in any kind of contact with the Western world.”

EAST NEIGHBORHOOD

It is precisely about Russia, Borrell says that it is a country “with which we have to establish selective agreements”, as with Turkey.

“Both Russia and Turkey appear on the international political scene as the resurgence of old empires.”

Moscow and Ankara have the “approach of occupying the international arena, vindicating their past and their current political will to intervene,” says the high representative. From Turkey, he highlights that the EU has had “a difficult year” and expresses his wish that “the situation improves.

The heads of state and government agreed at last week’s summit to prepare new sanctions against Ankara for oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Specifically, they asked the high representative to include more people to the current list, which contains two people linked to the Turkish state oil company.

The penalties for Belarus and Turkey are related, because the EU was unable to approve its sanctions on Minks until Cyprus obtained guarantees that Ankara could be sanctioned.

“When you touch on sensitive issues that affect your position in the world, your relationship with others, you notice that there is not enough convergence of points of view for you to decide unanimously,” laments Borrell.

NEIGHBORHOOD SOUTH

The former Spanish Foreign Minister admits the “clear differences” that have also been noted when establishing a common position regarding how to approach the war in Libya. Remember that Russia and Turkey have intruded on a key country for Europe.

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‘A year ago (…), when I arrived in Brussels, Turkey and Russia had barely set foot in Libya. Now they are the ones who are there, the ones who have decided the war and the ones who are distributing influence in the country, ‘says Borrell.

While Moscow supports the Libyan National Army, led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Ankara helps the United Nations-backed government of Tripoli.

To lessen its influence and help control the UN arms embargo, Brussels approved the Irini military operation last year.

Borrell also regrets that the necessary unanimity prevented it from approving it quickly. EFE

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(More information about the European Union at euroefe.euractiv.es)

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