Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: EU top diplomats to discuss Iran, Russia, Eastern Partnership

European Union foreign ministers will try to agree on further sanctions on Russia and Iran and an additional 2 billion euros ($2.11 billion) for arms deliveries to Ukraine at a meeting in Brussels on Monday. However, it remained unclear whether Hungary will block some decisions, resorting to what diplomats have denounced as “blackmail diplomacy” due to a dispute over locked EU funds for Budapest. “There is agreement, in principle, but there’s also the big elephant in the room,” a senior EU diplomat told reporters, referring to Budapest’s use of its veto power. “It’s a type of blackmail diplomacy that we would rather not see but it is what it is.” (https://neuters.de/world/europe/eu-discuss-russia-iran-sanctions-top-up-ukraine-arms-fund-2022-12-12/) Foreign ministers are due to review new sanctions on Iranian people and organisations over human rights abuses in Tehran’s crackdown on protesters and the supply of drones to Russia. “We are going to approve a very tough package of sanctions”, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said ahead of the meeting. EU foreign ministers will also discuss a ninth package of Russia sanctions that is set to place almost 200 more individuals and entities on the EU sanctions list, but Borrell stressed there was still no agreement on this at this stage. He hoped that could come later on Monday or on Tuesday. Before their meeting, ministers will talk with their counterparts from the Eastern Partnership – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – nations the EU has sought to stabilise in the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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