Borrell optimistic EU will ban Russian oil before year’s end

Panama City, May 3 (EFE).- The High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Tuesday predicted that European countries will stop buying oil from Russia before the year is out.

“I hope so, well before the end of the year,” Josep Borrell said in an interview with EFE after participating in a meeting with foreign ministers of the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Panama.

However, Borrell added that the severity of the sanctions will depend on the situation in each EU country.

“It is important to understand the problems of each country. There are countries that are very dependent and for whom, for objective reasons, replacing Russian oil with other sources is much more difficult than for others that are open to the sea and international traffic,” said the Spaniard.

According to Borrell, “what is important is the quantity and the total price paid for Russian oil.”

With regard to Hungary’s acceptance of Russia’s demand for gas to be paid for in rubles, the EU High Representative said that the European Commission “has clearly indicated that the rules are complied with and that payments are made according to the contracts signed (..) and this applies to Hungary.”

After an official visit to Chile and Panama and the meeting with SICA and CARICOM, Borrell said that Latin America is the region most “solidly” connected to the EU’s stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Latin America “is the part of the world that has most solidly come out in favor of international law and the sovereignty and integrity of states, more than Africa, more than Southeast Asia,” he said.

“All the countries present from Central America to Caribbean, except one (El Salvador), voted in favor of the United Nations General Assembly resolution, condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Borrell said at the end of the meeting.

“As a whole, there is no other region of the world that is closer to our positions,” he stressed. But he explained that “our positions” should not be understood as supporting Europe.

“No, we are supporting the United Nations charter,” he said.

“There are other nations and other regions that have been more tactical, that don’t want to antagonize Russia, but here (in Latin America) it’s been very much based on a matter of principle,” he added.

Borrell did not mention the position taken by Nicaragua, which was the only country that did not attend the meeting, and which he said has “one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.”

He described the country’s decision to call and hold elections while “putting in jail and sentencing all those who had the courage to submit their candidacy” against that of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s as unacceptable.

In the EU “we will do everything possible to isolate Ortega and get the support of the countries of the region” to achieve this, the European official said.

The 22 countries that make up SICA and CARICOM met in Panama with Borrell to analyze the impact of the Ukraine war on the region, including rising fuel and basic commodities prices and an increase in food insecurity.

During the meeting, the foreign ministers and representatives ratified their position on the war, and their demand that Russia carry out “an immediate cessation of hostilities against Ukraine, and in particular any attack against civilians and civilian targets.” EFE


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