No softening of sanctions, says MFA

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Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics told his counterparts at the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg that there could only be talk of softening sanctions against Russia when the situation in the east of Ukraine has improved, national information agency LETA reported from ministry sources Tuesday.

The meeting agenda included discussions of action plans for fighting the Ebola virus, the situations in Libya, Syria, Iraq and the Near East, as well as an agreement on creating a consultative mission in Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine) at the end of the year.

The EUAM Ukraine mission will provide aid to the civil security sector – the police and national guard, in addition to support for targeted reforms of these professional fields.

Rinkevics pointed to Russia’s non-compliance with the Minsk Protocol – its armed forces and mercenaries from Ukraine haven’t been withdrawn, military support to armed separatists continues, therefore Ukraine cannot control its borders with Russia.

“The only possibility for talk of softening sanctions can come when conditions in eastern Ukraine improve,” he stressed.

He also urged against allowing third parties to intervene in the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement relations and remarked how essential it is for all member-states to ratify it. He pledged strong Latvian support to Ukraine’s imperative reform processes, that have barely just begun.

Rinkevics went on to share his concern over human rights violations against the indigenous Tatar population of Russian-annexed Crimea as well as Ukrainians there.


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