FM stresses need for EU’s response to Russia’s repression against civic society

During the meeting of heads of EU diplomacy regarding ongoing international matters, Poland’s FM Zbigniew Rau stressed the necessity for the EU to respond to growing repression on the part of Russia against its civic society.

“Covering ongoing matters, the ministers talked about relations with Russia and approved a package of sanctions as part of the regime related to the violation of human rights that encompasses individuals and entities from various countries,” Poland’s MFA wrote.

“During the discussion on ongoing international matters, Minister Rau pointed out the necessity for the EU to respond to growing repression on the part of Russia against its civic society. He stressed that human rights should be the main part of the EU’s political dialogue with Russia,” the MFA wrote.

The ministry also wrote that the FM stressed “the necessity for the heads of states and governments to outline, during the next session of the European Council, the continuation of a decisive and balanced EU policy towards Russia, a policy based on ‘five fundamental rules’.”

The main points of the discussion held by the EU Council for Foreign Affairs in Brussels were relations with Turkey, southern EU partnership matters and talks with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

The ministry wrote that “the head of Polish diplomacy expressed his hope for a lasting improvement in Turkey's relations with Greece and Cyprus,” adding that Mr Rau described Turkey as “an ally of NATO and key partner of the EU.” The FM also “assessed that future endeavours of the EU required the continuation of an approach that comprised diverse political scenarios in relations with Turkey.”

“In the discussion on the southern partnership, the ministers stressed the validity of pursuing efficient and balanced EU policy including the intensification of high-level contacts with the EU’s southern neighbours with a view to encouraging them to indispensable reforms that would be carried out with respect for local conditions and sensitivities. They also agreed that supporting the perspectives of economic development of the EU’s neighbouring countries was indispensable just like strengthening their state structures in the area of border management,” the MFA wrote.

While talking with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, FM Rau thanked her for her proactiveness in the documentation of human rights violations and for the latest report on Belarus. He expressed his hope for the adoption of a resolution on Belarus during the ongoing session of the Human Rights Council — a resolution that would establish the so-called responsibility mechanism aimed at the monitoring of the situation in the sphere of human rights in Belarus with the High Commissioner’s office playing a pivotal role in the mechanism.

The MFA’s communique confirmed that the council adopted a package of sanctions covering 11 people and four entities responsible for the violation of human rights in various countries. As reported by the Polish Press Agency (PAP) today before noon, according to an EU source, the new sanctions affect persons and entities from China, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Russia and South Sudan and boil down to the freezing of their assets and a ban on entry into the EU.

Regarding China, this would be the very first EU sanctions against the country in over 30 years.

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