ANKARA

The EU foreign ministers on Monday could not reach an agreement on sanctions on Belarus, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.

“Ministers discussed the sanctions issue. And although there is a clear will to adopt those sanctions, it has not been possible to do that today because the required unanimity was not reached,” Josep Borrell said in a news conference after the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

“And the issue will have to be considered by the heads of state and governments at the European Council later this week,” he added.

Belarus has been rocked by mass protests since veteran President Alexander Lukashenko was reelected in an Aug. 9 election his opponents say was rigged.

Borell said election results in Belarus was “falsified” and the bloc does not recognize the results.

He said the unanimity could not be reached in the meeting because the Greek Cypriot administration was not part of the consensus and it wanted the sanctions to be tied to sanctions against Turkey over a gas drilling dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“This is a high voltage political problem that the European Council will have to solve. And I cannot tell you how the European Council will solve it. It will have to be discussed.”

Greece has disputed Turkey’s energy exploration in the region, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have rights in the region.

To reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure the fair sharing of the region’s resources.

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