Cyprus vetoes sanctions on Belarus due to EU’s inaction against Turkey
Although Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikanouskaya called for a so-called brave response against President Alexander Lukashenko, EU foreign ministers failed to agree on sanctions because of a Cypriot veto.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics condemned the actions by Cyprus in a tweet, saying that it “sends a wrong signal to Belarusians, our societies and the whole world.”
Discussing many issues in #EU #FAC, including #Belarus. It is regrettable that today we could not decide on sanctions on violations of human rights there due to “a hostage taking” by a member state. Sends a wrong signal to Belarusians, our societies and the whole world
— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) September 21, 2020
However, such a view completely omits that Turkey is directly violating the sovereignty of Cyprus, an EU member, while Belarus is not an EU member nor is threatening an EU member.
Turkey has de-escalated its aggression against Greece by withdrawing its research vessel and warships out of Greece’s maritime space and continental shelf, but continues to violate Cypriot sovereignty.
Because of the de-escalation against Greece, the EU is sidelining Cyprus and concentrating on passing sanctions against Belarus.
Despite threats of facing repercussions, Cyprus, one of the smallest members of the EU, has deflected pressure to maintain its stance that sanctions against Belarus cannot pass unless there are sanctions against Turkey. This has been to the dismay of most of the EU members who want to continue a policy of appeasement towards Turkey but aggressively sanction Belarus who is not a threat to any EU member.