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No EU sanctions on Belarus despite oppn leader plea

EU foreign ministers on Monday failed to agree sanctions over the political crisis in Belarus, despite a plea for support from opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
The former Soviet republic has been convulsed by unprecedented demonstrations against President Alexander Lukashenko since he was returned to power in a disputed August 9 election and launched a brutal crackdown.
Tikhanovskaya met EU foreign ministers in Brussels and urged them to sanction Lukashenko but, despite repeated statements condemning the veteran strongman and warning of measures, after more than six weeks the bloc has still yet to act.
Cyprus, which has good relations with Lukashenko’s key supporter Russia, has blocked EU agreement on measures against Belarus, insisting that sanctions against Turkey over a maritime gas drilling dispute must be agreed at the same time.
“Although there is a clear will to adopt these sanctions, it has not been possible to do that today because the required unanimity was not reached,” EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell told reporters after hosting the talks.