President Barack Obama, while in Germany during his last foreign tour as head of state, agreed with European leaders on the extension of anti-Russian sanctions because of the situation in Ukraine, reports Reuters. In the Kremlin, in turn, emphasize that the sanctions do not prevent Russia to establish a dialogue with Western partners.
“It is important that we extend the sanctions as long as the Minsk agreements are fully implemented,” Obama said. At the same time, he noted that “it is in our interest to cooperate with Russia to solve the problems in the world.”
The meeting in Berlin, in addition to Obama, was attended by the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Britain Theresa may, the President of France Francois Hollande, Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, and the Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi.
The White house said that the leaders of the USA and the European countries agreed that sanctions against Russia should continue until the Russian authorities do not fulfill their commitments to resolving the conflict in Ukraine.
– The West is not going to impose sanctions against Russia over Syria
Angela Merkel said that Germany considers insufficient progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, to talk about the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions. “We talked about sanctions related to the Ukraine. We want to make progress but now the progress is not obvious. We will continue to work and at some point will decide what to do next,” she added.
According to her, “the way the situation is developing at the moment, we cannot talk about sufficient progress in the Minsk process”. At the same time, the Chancellor noted that all the participants of the meeting spoke in support of the Normandy format. “Here the American President and we all said supported channel format and close cooperation with the United States in this matter,” – said Merkel.
The meeting in Berlin was the first opportunity for European leaders to discuss face to face the consequences of the victory of Donald trump in the presidential election of the United States, noted the BBC. The leaders of Western countries expressed hope that US President-elect will continue the sanctions policy towards Russia.
Press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the West’s decision to extend the sanctions, said that “the sanctions theme – not our problem”, reports the Agency “Interfax”.
According to Peskov, the sanctions against Russia “do not prevent to build a dialogue with Western partners on issues of interest to Russia”. He stressed that Moscow has no plans “to raise this issue in your communication with anyone whatsoever”.
The US and the EU insist on elections in the Donbass
U.S. and EU leaders have expressed concern about the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine and called for a lasting cessation of hostilities and the holding of local elections in the Donbass. This is stated in the statement of the press service of the White house.
“The leaders expressed concern with the lack of a durable ceasefire and stressed the importance of creating such a situation in the field of security, which will allow you to continue the preparations for holding free and fair elections” – the document says (quoted by TASS).
The West is not going to impose sanctions against Russia over Syria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said that at the meeting of European leaders with the American President sides did not discuss the issue of sanctions against Russia because of Moscow’s policy in Syria. “Specifically, the sanctions against Russia in relation to Syria, we did not say,” she said.
The Chancellor added that at the meeting, the topic of Syria was discussed in great detail. “First of all, it was stressed that the humanitarian situation in Aleppo should improve,” – said Merkel.
Prime Minister of great Britain Theresa may, in turn, added that Western leaders were United in the need to maintain pressure on Russia over the situation in Syria.
“On Syria, discussing Aleppo, we were United in condemning the violence and agreed on the need to continue the pressure on Russia, including the possibility of imposing sanctions against those who violate international humanitarian law”, she said.