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Merkel says EU sanctions against Belarus 'an important signal'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the second face-to-face European Union summit since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brussels, Belgium October 1, 2020. Aris Oikonomou/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union sanctions on Belarus, which the bloc’s leaders agreed on Friday, send an important signal to those who stand in the way of democracy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

“We can say today that the sanctions against the actors in Belarus will come into force,” she told reporters at the summit. “The European Union is taking action against those who stand in the way of democracy. I think that is an important signal.”

Turning to Turkey and tensions with Cyprus over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, Merkel urged Ankara to continue along the path of de-escalating tensions.

“We hope that out of this we will again have a negotiating dynamic with Turkey, both regarding bilateral issues with Greece and Cyprus and regarding European Union issues with Turkey,” she said.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Paul Carrel

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