Greece vetoes EU statement to UN criticising Chinese regime
Greece has vetoed EU condemnation of China’s human rights record at the UN, infuriating diplomats and human rights organisations, who called it a blow to the EU’s record as a defender of human rights.
It emerged yesterday that Athens had refused to endorse an EU statement criticising the crackdown on activists and dissidents under Xi Jinping, the communist president. The statement was due to be submitted to the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva last Thursday.
“We acted from a position of principle,” said an official at the Greek foreign ministry. “There is an upcoming dialogue between the EU and China on human rights and we think that could be a more efficient and constructive way of delivering better results.”
Human rights groups including Amnesty International said it was the first time the EU had failed to make such a statement at the UN’s top rights body. Diplomats were especially piqued at the timing. On Thursday eurozone finance ministers agreed to unlock €8.5bn (£7.4bn) in bailout loans, allowing Athens to avert default when it faces €7.4bn in debt repayments next month. “It was dishonourable, to say the least,” one diplomat told Reuters in Brussels. The move not only