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EU FMs agree by consensus to extend Russia’s sanctions for six months

EU countries have agreed by consensus to extend Russia sanctions for six months, expand their blacklist, and prepare further economic sanctions if need be, Euobesrver and several Greek media report.The sancton were ending in March, with the extnesion they will be valid until next September.

Greece had earlier voiced reservations, but backed down.

The improvements over the original version that was released Monday, causing the reaction of the Greek government, that 1) Russia escaped moral and political condemnation by the EU and 2) the economic sanctions were not extended for one year (as foreseen in the original EU text) but for six months. Also a sentence for the protection of the Greek-origin citizens in Mariopol was added.

Leaders of some EU countries reportedly support that the  new attack by Russian-speaking guerrillas (in Mariopol) “must be answered not only by the timely extension but also with the quantitative and qualitative expansion of the measures already imposed.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini announced that the European Union will add new names on the “black list” of private persons against whom sanctions are imposed because of their involvement in the Ukrainian crisis and prepare “more measures.” the new names on the “black list” will be added on another EU FM’s meeting early February, probably February 9th 2015.

“These are not ‘new sanctions’,”  but extension of the old ones, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias reportedly said after the meeting. According to MEGA TV,  Kotzias said that:
“If Russia does not go to the negotiating table, the whole issue will be reviewed,” 
  and added:
 
whoever believes that Greece defends the interests of Russia has not understood the orientation of the Greek government.
Greek government issued a statement describing the EU Foreign Ministers’ decision as “major success for the Greek diplomacy.”
“Greek diplomacy managed in cooperation with other countries seeking a diplomatic solution for the Ukraine, to overthrow the Cold War climate that was favoring new sanctions on Russia, a climate that had grown in the last days.”
Greece governing party noted that there will be no extension of economic sanctions “despite the initial messages of various circles” and that “there was no explicit reference to add names of Russian citizens on lists for individual sanctions“.

Federica Mogherini stressed that the stance of Greece on the issue was constructive and committed to maintain the EU’s unity.
“I think, it was very positive attitude, which resulted to reach a consensus on a substantial and credible decision, she said. (sources: AthensNewsAgency, newsit.gr, protohema)
 
PS I also read somewhere, that Kotzias said he “had no intention to just sign the documents they sent him (from the EU).”
When was last time we heard of a constructive intervention by the Greek diplomacy? This must have been ages ago…
Well done, Greece!

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