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Source: European Parliament

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of countries have been finding it extremely difficult to combat the health emergency individually. In many cases, the solidarity of the international community, but of private individuals, too, has been important in assisting governments and populations in the fight against the virus.

Against this complicated background, the sanctions imposed on certain countries has done nothing but exacerbate the situation. While European sanctions and those of the United Nations provide for clear humanitarian exceptions, enabling equipment and vital materials to be supplied in order to combat the coronavirus, this subtle distinction does not exist – or at least is not as clear – in other jurisidictions.

There are some very serious specific cases, such as the failure to deliver face masks, diagnostic reagents and ventilators to Cuba, because of the US embargo, or the dramatic situation in Iran, a country severely affected by the pandemic: in this case, the secondary sanctions imposed by the United States have made it almost impossible for the country to purchase ventilators.

The Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative is aware of this situation and has already expressed his views on the matter, but what specific measures does he intend to take, in cooperation with the international community, to deal with this dramatic issue and provide humanitarian assistance to those countries which, even though under international sanctions, currently need international solidarity?

MIL OSI Europe News