Yesterday, European Union foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on four Russian officials over the case of the opposition Alexei Navalny, and the European Union also expressed its readiness to impose sanctions on the military group in Myanmar following the coup that it carried out, and to impose sanctions on 19 Venezuelan officials.
The 27 bloc’s foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss a fraught agenda that also includes video-conference talks with the new US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Diplomats in Brussels said that a “political agreement” had been reached to use the new penal system linked to human rights for the first time to punish four senior Russian officials involved in Navalny prison and to counter protests by his supporters.
The diplomats did not give any details about the names of the officials who will be targeted with the freezing of their assets and the travel ban. And European Union foreign minister Josep Borrell will have to formally draw up a list of people who will be sanctioned in the coming days, said a senior diplomat.
The stance on Russia tightened after Borrell’s visit to Moscow this month, which ended in a major setback with the Kremlin expelling European diplomats. The European Union previously imposed sanctions on Russia after its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and because of its role in Ukraine. In October, the federation blacklisted six officials for poisoning dissident Alexei Navalny with the nerve gas Novichok in August.
Myanmar and Venezuela
Shortly after the start of the meeting, the ministers issued a statement on Myanmar, saying that “the Council of (Foreign Ministers) confirms that the European Union is ready to adopt restrictive measures that directly target those responsible for the military coup and their economic interests.” The European ministers also called for a “de-escalation of the current crisis by immediately ending the state of emergency”, returning the civilian government to power, and releasing prisoners, including Leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
On the other hand, the ministers agreed to impose sanctions on 19 officials in Venezuela for their role in actions and decisions that the union considered “undermining democracy and the rule of law” in this country, according to what was announced in an official statement.
The decision, which was approved by the foreign ministers of the Union during their meeting yesterday, raises to 55 the total number of officials and senior employees in the government of President Nicolas Maduro who were imposed on them by the European Union sanctions that include denying entry visas and freezing assets in the countries of the Union.
It is expected that the first video talks with the new US Secretary of State will focus on cooperation on a series of issues from Russia to China, leading to the issue of returning the United States to the Iran nuclear deal.
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