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Title: EU makes eleventh-hour push for deal on Russia oil sanctions

May 30, 2022 04:41AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

The European Union's top diplomats met on Monday in a last-minute attempt to agree on sanctions against Russian oil imports before their leaders meet later in the day to avoid disagreements over the Union's response to the war in Ukraine.

According to a new draft of the summit's conclusions, the 27 leaders were expected to agree to apply the next round of sanctions to oil, temporarily exempting oil shipped through pipelines - a compromise the ambassadors failed to agree on Sunday.

The text seen by Reuters, which could be revised again, would confirm the agreement to sanction oil by sea, with oil supplied by pipelines to inland Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to be sanctioned at some point.

However, the text says the leaders meeting in Brussels this afternoon will not finalise the terms of this temporary exemption.

Instead, they will ask diplomats and ministers to find a solution that also ensures fair competition between those who will continue to buy Russian oil and those who will be cut off from supplies.

One EU diplomat said the text represented "limited progress" because too many details remained to be ironed out before a full agreement could be reached at the two-day summit. Leaders will achieve few concrete results if the stalemate over the oil embargo prevents a more comprehensive sanctions package from being adopted.

EU leaders will pledge further support to Ukraine to help it fend off the Russian onslaught and will discuss how to deal with the consequences of the conflict, in particular rising energy prices and the looming food crisis.

But the talks will be overshadowed by their months-long struggle to reach agreement on a sixth round of sanctions against Moscow, which has been blocked in particular by Hungary.

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