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Anastasiades: EU must heed Greece, Malta, Cyprus concerns on oil ban

Anastasiades: EU must heed Greece, Malta, Cyprus concerns on oil ban

Cyprus, Greece and Malta expect the European Union to take into account their concerns over a planned EU ban on transporting Russian oil, as the bloc hammers out the details of its proposed embargo on Russian crude, Cyprus’s president said on Friday.

Brussels outlined embargo plans this week as part of its toughest-package of measures yet against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The plans call for a ban on purchases and prohibit the shipping industry based in EU member countries from handling Russian oil. The proposals are now being tweaked to address concerns of various member states.

Greece, Malta and Cyprus have the largest shipping fleets in the 27 member EU, and host large ship-management centres.

“It’s necessary to take into account concerns of Greece, Malta and of course Cyprus in specific matters relating to the sanctions,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters in Athens.

Anastasiades, who earlier met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said this was a “common position” of both.

“We are both clear. We are against the Russian invasion and of course in favour of sanctions. But these sanctions should be targeted, and not selective in serving some member states and leaving others exposed,” Anastasiades said.

A Greek government official said talks in Brussels were still in progress and Athens would respect any joint decision.

Friday’s tweaked proposal by the EU executive suggested a three-month transition before banning EU shipping services from transporting Russian oil, instead of the initial one month – to address concerns raised by Greece, Malta and Cyprus about their shipping industries. [Reuters]