Monday

26th Sep 2016

Cypriot MPs call to lift Russia sanctions

  • Cyprus has close cultural ties with Russia and is home to many Russian firms (Photo: Cypriot Parliament)

The Cypriot parliament on Thursday (7 July) adopted a resolution calling for an end to EU sanctions against Russia.

The resolution, which was adopted by 33 of the assembly's 56 MPs, was tabled by the communist AKEL party, which was in power from 2008 to 2013.

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It asked the government to work in the European Council to end the sanctions adopted in 2014 against Russia after the annexation of Crimea and the downing of a civilian airplane in eastern Ukraine.

The EU imposes sanctions by unanimous decisions, meaning that Cyprus could, in theory, veto the next renewal of Russia measures, due in January.

Sanctions are "counterproductive and in no way helped to resolve the crisis in Ukraine," the new Cypriot resolution said.


It added that they "have negatively affected trade and economic relations between Cyprus and Russia during a period of continuing economic crisis" and called for the lifting of Russia's counter-ban on Cypriot and other EU food exports.

The resolution also called on all parties involved in the war in eastern Ukraine to implement the Minsk peace agreement. The fulfilment of the peace treaty is the EU's official condition for lifting the Russia measures.

Cyprus has close cultural ties with Russia and is home to many Russian firms.

Its government has been critical of EU sanctions on Russia, with president Nikos Anastasiades saying last year that they "will not solve the problem [and] will only create wider problems for the whole European Union."

But Cyprus has not opposed sanction roll-overs, most recently last week when the EU extended the economic measures until December.

The 17 MPs from Anastasiades's DISY party also abstained during the vote on the resolution.

The Cypriot vote follows a vote by both chambers of the French parliament to partially lift sanctions. Several EU countries have also voiced criticism of the EU's Russia policy.


Last week, Slovakia's foreign minister Miroslav Lajcak said that the EU needed to change its "ideological' policy and indicated that sanctions did not work.

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