Cyprus supports enforcement of sanctions on Russia, Kombos told FAC

Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos has expressed Cyprus’ support for the correct implementation of sanctions against Russia, speaking during the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) of the EU in Brussels, reported CBN.

During the 22 May meeting, the Foreign Ministers were also briefed by the EU Special Envoy for the implementation of sanctions, David O’Sullivan.

According to a press release, the agenda of the FAC included the general situation in Ukraine and the Horn of Africa, an exchange of views on the Western Balkans and an informal working lunch with the Foreign Ministers of the countries of the region. The ministers also discussed the latest developments in Tunisia and the EU’s relations with Central Asian countries.

During the discussion on Ukraine and sanctions enforcement, Kombos noted that Cyprus fully supports the efforts of the EU Special Envoy, adding that the circumvention of sanctions by third countries undermines collective efforts of the EU and its Member States.

The Foreign Minister made special reference to Turkey, which, he said, avoids alignment with EU restrictive measures, and seeks to take advantage of the situation.

During the discussion on the Horn of Africa, he referred to the particularly worrying humanitarian situation in the region and expressed Cyprus’ support for regional and international ceasefire efforts and international initiatives to send urgent humanitarian aid to the country.

Cyprus, he said, acted as a safe port of reception and transit and participated in the evacuation operations of third-country civilians, facilitating the evacuation of over 2,600 people.

Regarding the Western Balkans, the Foreign Minister referred to the importance the EU attaches to the region, noting that since the EU-Western Balkans Summit last December, significant steps have been taken so far, and stressed the need for an inclusive process that delivers tangible results.

The Western Balkans are key to maintaining regional security and stability, and therefore the EU must maintain its positive footprint in the region, he stressed.

During the discussion on current affairs, the Foreign Minister referred to EU-Central Asia relations, underlining that Cyprus supports enhanced dialogue and cooperation between the EU and the countries of the region. At the same time, he noted, the EU expects countries in the region to act in full compliance with international law as it does with all its partners.

In this context, the Minister asked for the EU’s support regarding Turkey’s efforts to upgrade the occupied north within the Organisation of Turkic States, but also in relation to efforts made towards certain countries in the region for direct flights to the occupied territories.

Referring to the latest developments in Tunisia, the Foreign Minister stressed the importance of continuing the EU’s dialogue with the country to address major challenges, such as migration.

On the sidelines of the Council, the Minister met his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó. The two ministers discussed bilateral issues as well as Turkey’s efforts to upgrade the status of the north within the Organisation of Turkic States. The Hungarian Minister reiterated his country’s support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. On his part, Kombos made it clear that Hungary, as an EU member state, is expected to synchronize its statements and actions.