Category Archives: Politics

MAVRIDES: CYPRUS-SANCTIONS-DISTORTIONS

Costas MAVRIDES, MEP, OPINION Cyprus position on sanctions vs distortions
Erdogan is breaking fundamental EU and International Law in his expansionist policies to restore the Ottoman empire and turn himself into the Sultan of modern times. Domestically, he crashed the media and imprisoned thousands of journalists, academics, judges and political opponents. He is obsessed with Islamism, recently converted two of the finest Byzantine Christian cathedrals into mosques against UNESCO rules and promoting political Islam in Europe. He has breached NATO obligations by buying Russian missiles. He turned the migration flow into a tool for blackmailing the EU and interferes in the politics of European countries including France and Germany, insisting that Turkish EU citizens owe loyalty only to Turkey. He invaded into Iraq and Syria where still occupies the Afrin area. He has an open war on the Kurds within and around Turkey. He intervened in Libya and continues his aggression with the supply of arms against the UN Security Council Resolutions. He has illegally militarize the sea in the Aegean, acting against the sovereign rights of Greece. He has invaded in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus extending Turkish illegal occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus into its waters zones.

The invasion in the Cyprus water zones is taking place for some years now for which Cyprus is pleading for EU solidarity. Last week, the European Parliament has spoken once again, condemning the aggression of Turkey in the Mediterranean and calling the European Council to consider targeted and sectoral sanctions against Turkey. These blatant violations of rule of law within Turkey and against EU and International Law -against the sovereign rights of two member states of EU-, take place while Turkey is an EU accession country.
The last few weeks we have seen the authoritarian regime of Belarus actions against its citizens. During the Council in Berlin an agreement was reached that EU sanctions are going to be imposed on Belarus and Turkey. Now, some member states don’t want sanctions on Turkey, while Cyprus insists on the implementation of the agreement reached asking for sanctions on both Turkey and Belarus. The EU High Representative Josep Borrell stated in the EP that sanctions will be imposed on Turkey over its actions in the Cypriot EEZ and called the EU member states to implement the Berlin agreement. The above are the facts without any distortions. Anyone can decide who is the defender of European values, EU Law and Europe long term interests.
Costas Mavrides, Member of European Parliament
Chair of the Political Committee of the Mediterranean
Member of Cyprus Democratic Party

Opposition politician arrest in Minsk

A member of the Belarusian opposition’s Coordination Council Maria Kolesnikova #Kalesnikava has been arrested and placed in a pre-trial detention center in Minsk, to various sources report. (Image: social media).

“The head of the investigative group of the Investigative Committee’s main investigation department Vasilyuk called me and informed that she had been arrested,” Maria’s father Alexander Kolesnikov said on September 9, according to tut.by portal.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian State Border Committee noted that information on Kolesnikova’s whereabouts and a legal assessment of her actions would be provided later.

On Tuesday, Belarus-1 state TV channel reported on its Telegram channel that Kolesnikova had been detained while trying to illegally cross the border with Ukraine. According to the Belarusian State Border Committee, she was going through border control together with the Council’s spokesman Anton Rodnenkov and executive secretary Ivan Kravtsov. The two men passed the control and later headed to Kiev, where they established contact.

The representatives of former presidential hopeful Viktor Babariko announced that Kolesnikova had been allegedly in the Mozyr border guard detachment and was later taken to Minsk.

The presidential election in Belarus was held on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was an absolute winner with 80.10% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was considered as his key rival, came in second with 10.12% of the vote.

She refused to recognize the official election results and exiled in Lithuania. Shortly after the exit poll results were announced, mass protests broke out in the country, which degenerated into clashes with law enforcement officers.

The authorities demand the end of the rallies, while the Coordination Council set up by the opposition calls to continue protests, demanding to cancel sham elections results, and set a new date for free and fair elections, releasing all political prisoners, who could not participate.

Navalny in Omsk – stabilised but in coma

Russian opposition politician and relentless anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, 44, is still unconscious in Omsk hospital suffering from suspected poisoning, his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said.

Navalny wife, Yulia, and his GP arrived to Omsk, but they have diffiuclty in obtaining the necessary documents to move the patient to another, better equpped clinic. However the staff of the hospital do not share their plan, and refuse to release patient. They insist that they have all necessary equipment to provide required treatment, and that they have had a series of consulations via teleconferencing with the leading medical centers in Russia. Refering to the legislation the representative of the hostpial declined to comment of the diagnosis, he explaind his position with the legal restriciton, and added that there are ceratin improvements, which allow to regard the patient’s condition with cautions optimism.

Navalny spokesperson expressed indignation about the rumers circulating in different Russian media about Navalny alcohool poisoning. The pro-Kremlin newspapers suggested he suffered depression, and was drining poor quality alcohool, while travelling in Siberia.

The anti-corruption campaigner fell ill during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, and the plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. (Image below: Lubov Sobol, “FBK”)

Navalny team team suspects something was put in his tea at an airport cafe, blame the authorities the “special operation” of physical removal of the political opponent.

The Kremlin spokesperson said that it wished Navalny a “speedy recovery”.

The Kremlin is aware of the hospitalization of Alexei Navalny and wishes him “a speedy recovery.” Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin is ready to assist in transporting Navalny for treatment abroad.

The Kremlin is aware of the hospitalization of Alexei Navalny and wishes him “a speedy recovery.” Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin is ready to assist in transporting Navalny for treatment abroad.

Alexey Navalny has for years been among President Vladimir Putin’s staunchest critics.

In June he described a vote on constitutional reforms as a “coup” and a “violation of the constitution”. The reforms allow Presient Putin to serve another two terms in office, after the four terms he has already had.

EU: Belarus elections «falsified»

The EU Foreign Ministers addressed the Belarusian Presidential elections that took place on 9 August.

“Ministers reiterated their repeated call to the Belarusian authorities to stop the disproportionate and unacceptable violence against peaceful protesters. The EU expects the authorities to release immediately all unlawfully detained persons. In light of shocking reports of inhumane treatment and detention conditions, the European Union expects a thorough and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses, in order to hold those responsible to account.

“During their discussions, the Ministers sent a strong signal of the EU’s support to the Belarusian population in their desire for democratic change. The Ministers noted the exceptional work of the domestic election observers, whose reporting, in the absence of international election observers, has been crucial in helping to reveal the true picture regarding last Sunday’s elections. They discussed how to support this vital work.

“The Ministers reiterated that the elections were neither free nor fair. The European Union considers the results to have been falsified and therefore does not accept the results of the election as presented by the Belarus Central Election Commission. The European Union will therefore put forward to the Belarusian authorities a proposal for EU support in in establishing and facilitating a dialogue between the political authorities, opposition and broader society in view of resolving the current crisis. The High Representative/Vice-President and his services will begin work on this proposal immediately.

“Ministers also agreed on the need to sanction those responsible for violence, repression and the falsification of election results. The work on additional listings within the existing sanctions framework for Belarus will start immediately.

“The Ministers expressed appreciation for the work of journalists in the difficult conditions that they are facing and condemned attacks on and detentions of journalists, including EU citizens.

“The Ministers agreed to revert to reviewing EU-Belarus relations at their upcoming informal meeting end of August. As part of this review, the European Union will look at how to increase its support to the Belarusian people, including through enhanced engagement with and financial support to civil society, additional support to independent media, and increasing opportunities for student and academic mobility”.

Image: archive

EU diplomacy extraordinary Council on Belarus

EU foreign ministers will convene via teleconference on Friday, August 14, to discuss the situation in Belarus following the announced re-election of Alexander Lukashenko with 80% of ballots, and immediatley following accusations of fraud.

The Swedish top diplomat Ann Linde said she had received an invitation to participate in an extraordinary ministerial meeting with the EU foreign ministers where, she added, the question of possible sanctions against Minsk will be debated.

The European Commission said on August 11 it was reviewing its relations with Belarus following the disputed re-election of the Belarusian president, declared the triumphant winner.

August 10 Germany called on EU member countries to discuss sanctions, and Poland proposed an immediate action to defend Belarus citiezens against violent crachdown of the peaceful protests undertaken by the authorities in the aftermath of the disputed elections.

Image: social media

Tikhanovskaya in exile in Lithuania

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya,37, has taken a “very difficult decision” to leave the country, after disputing an election she claimed was rigged.

Ms Tikhanovskaya said she did it for her children as protests continued for a second night.

In exile but “safe” in Lithuania, according to the country’s foreign minister.

The announced election results gave President Alexander Lukashenko 80% of the vote, but there have been widespread claims of fraud, and foul play with ballots.

Violent clashes between police and protesters have broken out over the two nights since the election was held, and there have been numerous reports of police brutality.

Ms Tikhanovskaya has united and galvanised the opposition, which presented a stronger than ever challenge to Lukashenko 26 years long presidency. Dabbed in free media as «Last Dictator» in Europe, he has established an autocratic rule after the collapse of the USSR.
The spontaneous opposition leadere announced her candidacy replacing her husband, a political blogger, who was arrested and prevented from registering for the vote.

But the 65-year-old president, who has ruled the former Soviet country since 1994, has described opposition supporters as a flock of “sheep” manipulated from abroad.

Belarus: Lukashenko announced 80% eleciton winner

Protesters and riot police have clashed Minsk and other cities of Belarus, after a state TV exit poll said long-time leader (26 years) Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in Sunday’s election.

In Minsk, the police used stun grenades to disperse crowds in the city centre. There have been reports of injuries, however in abesence of funcitonal internet connectivity the full picture of the police action has not been established yet.

The state TV exit poll showed that Mr Lukashenko won nearly 80% of the vote.
Main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said she had no confidence in the figures announced which gave her 7%.

“I believe my eyes, and I see that the majority is with us,” she said at a news conference after the TV annoucement evening.
The opposition had said it expected the vote to be rigged, saying it would keep an alternative count of the votes.

Ms Tikhanovskaya, 37, entered the election in place of her jailed husband and went on to lead large opposition rallies.

Mr Lukashenko, in power since 1994, has vowed that the situation in the country will remain “under control”.

Lukashenko in whirlwind of political crisis

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is Europe’s longest-serving ruler and the 65-year-old former Soviet collective farm chairman now wants a sixth term as president.
But in the run-up to the 9 August presidential election he has faced the biggest opposition protests for a decade.

“An authoritarian style of rule is characteristic of me, and I have always admitted it,” he said in August 2003. “You need to control the country, and the main thing is not to ruin people’s lives.”

There have been hundreds of arrests in a wave of demonstrations since May.

Lukashenko has been in power since 1994, with an authoritarian style reminiscent of the Soviet era, controlling the main media channels, harassing and jailing political opponents and marginalising independent voices.

The powerful secret police – still called the KGB – closely monitors dissidents.
On 30 July tens of thousands rallied in the capital Minsk in support of political novice Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, now his main rival.

She stepped in to challenge Mr Lukashenko after her husband Sergei Tikhanovsky, a popular blogger, was firstly barred from running for presidency and then sent to jail.

A referendum in 2004 lifted the two-term limit on presidents, paving way for Lukashenko to stay life-long President of Belarus.
Lukashenko is self-made man from humble origins raised by a single mother in a poor village in eastern Belarus.
He is married to Galina Lukashenko, with whom he has two adult sons, Viktor and Dmitry, however she has been always out of public life. In spite of the fact of being separated for decades, he told an interviewer in 2015 that he had no intention of divorcing Galina.
He has a third son, Nikolai (Kolya), born in 2004, whose mother Irina Abelskaya was Mr Lukashenko’s personal doctor. It is still unclear if the mother has un opportunity to see her son, there is a predomiant public opinon among Belorussians that Abelskaya was denied any contacts with the boy. The child has been exposed to public to such an extend that many analysts suggested Lukashenko aims to restore monarchy and pass the presidency to his youngest son.

However recently in an interview to the Ukrainain press Lukashenko has denied his allegations and said that he did not with to see his youngest son Nikolai as president and is not preparing him to be his successor.

Answering the reporter’s question whether he would like Nikolai to assume the office of president, Lukashenko said, “No, no. My Kolya is unlikely to ever be president.”

In his address to the parliament which lasted exactly one and a half hours, Lukashenko covered the essence his entire election program.

The President promised not to allow a return to the “dashing 90s”, insisted on absence of alternative to evolutionary (on contrary to revolutionary) development, exposed the incompetence of opponents and urged against expecting «miracles».

At the same time, he paid a lot of attention to Russia: in particular, he made it clear that fraternal relations were in the past – and through the fault of Moscow, not Minsk.

Russia has always been, is and will be our closest ally, no matter who is in power in Belarus or Russia. This is an overwhelming factor. It is deep within our peoples. This is deep within our peoples, even though Russia has exchanged fraternal relations with us for partnerships. In vain! “ Lukahsenko underlined.

Talking about the rival candidates the President said: “Found these three unfortunate girls (the joint opposition headquarters: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo, Maria Kolesnikova). They don’t understand what they are reading. What are you writing to them? “

“Let’s hold unfair elections, release economic, political, drug addicts, criminals, hold fair elections and live”.

“But at least tell them that it is not the president in Belarus who calls the elections. That after the unfair elections the Belarusian parliament will never plunge the country into a series of election campaigns and will not appoint the next elections. Think about it at least. What are you writing to them? They don’t understand what they are saying and what they are doing. But we see who is behind them.”

Azerbaijan Foreign Minister fired amid conflict

On July 16, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev dismissed Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. According to Russian media, the top diplomat caused the criticism of the head of state because he preferred to work at home, respecting coronavirus measures of social distancing, when the conflict began.

In addition, Aliyev said, Azerbaijani “diplomacy should be attacking diplomacy, not passive and defensive.”

Jeykhun Bayramov (pictured), who previously served as Minister of Education, was appointed to lead the Azerbaijan diplomacy amid conflict situaiton with neighbouring Armenia.

Jeykhun Bayramov (pictured) was born in Baku in 1973. After graduation, he entered the Azerbaijan State University of Economics at the Faculty of Economics, after which he continued his education at the University of Azerbaijan at the Faculty of Law.

In 1996-2000, he held various positions in the Ministry of Taxes. In 2000-2002 he worked as a lawyer, and in 2002-2013 he headed the OMNİ law firm.

In 2004-2012. world leading legal publications such as Chambers Global, IFLR1000 and Legal500 annually included Jeykhun Bayramov in the ranking of leading lawyers in the field of taxation and civil law in Azerbaijan.

From May 30, 2013 to August 12, 2013 he served as head of the apparatus of the Ministry of Education.

By order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev dated August 12, 2013, Jeyhun Bayramov was appointed deputy minister of education of Azerbaijan. He was then appointed Acting Minister of Education.

By an order of the President of April 23, 2018, he was appointed Minister of Education.

AMENDEMENT:
According to the Azerbaijan media on the eve of a cabinet meeting on the socio-economic development of Azerbaijan in the first half of 2020, President Aliyev sharply criticized the work of the Foreign Minister. According to the president, the foreign ministry chose the wrong tactics. According to Aliyev, Azerbaijani “diplomacy should be attacking diplomacy, not passive and defensive.” QUOTE: “I have repeatedly said that our diplomacy should be offensive, not passive and defensive. Unfortunately, recently our diplomacy has not been consistent with the successful development of the country, in some cases it is engaged in meaningless affairs, meaningless negotiations, ”Ilham Aliyev said.

EU on Serbia elections

Serbia held parliamentary, provincial and local elections on 21 June; one of the first elections held in Europe since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

While contestants in Serbia’s parliamentary elections were able to campaign and fundamental freedoms were respected, voter choice was limited by the governing party’s overwhelming advantage and the promotion of government policies by most major media outlets, according to the preliminary findings and conclusions of the international observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

The European Union looks forward to the OSCE/ODIHR final report and recommendations for future elections to be issued in the coming months. We expect all political actors and relevant institutions to engage in a transparent, decisive and inclusive dialogue on the implementation of these recommendations to address long-standing electoral shortcomings well ahead of the next elections.

We encourage the new parliament to continue to engage in the inter-party dialogue led by the European Parliament, with a view to forging broad cross-party consensus on EU-related reforms, which is vital for the country’s progress on its EU path. We also encourage the Serbian leadership to engage in a genuine dialogue across the political spectrum to take forward important reforms on the rule of law, fight against organised crime and corruption.

The European Union looks forward to engaging with the next government to take forward swiftly the urgent reforms necessary for Serbia’s EU accession. This concerns in particular the rule of law, which lies at the heart of the accession process and should be at the forefront of the next government’s political priorities, and socio-economic reforms, crucial for post COVID-19 pandemic recovery. We also count on Serbia’s continued full engagement in the EU-facilitated Dialogue as well as regional cooperation more broadly.

As Serbia’s top donor and investor, and its most important trade and economic partner, the European Union is fully committed to continue supporting Serbia’s EU accession process as well as economic recovery following the coronavirus crisis, including through the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans due in the autumn.

Image: Belgrade, Serbia

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