PRAGUE, September 6 (RIA Novosti) - Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico called on the European Union on Saturday to postpone imposing new sanctions against Russia, expected to be announced Monday.
"Until new anti-Russian sanctions are agreed on, I will be one of those prime-ministers, who say, 'Postpone them for the sake of peace!'" Fico said at a press-conference in Bratislava.
The third EU sanctions package against Russia is ready and can be confirmed Monday, Fico said, adding that he found sanctions 'absolutely counterproductive and pointless' from the start.
Slovak newspaper SME wrote citing diplomatic sources that the new sanctions were to be agreed on Friday. Such countries as Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus, however, prevented the EU from finalizing the agreement. The final decision has been postponed until Monday also due to the establishment of a ceasefire in Ukraine, which went into force Friday evening.
Fico said Slovakia had all of its requests fulfilled, one of which was to remove the Slovak branch of Russian largest lender Sberbank from under the sanctions.
Fico also commanded his Czech counterpart for often criticizing and correcting the Brussels' black list.
On Thursday, a White House spokesperson said that the United States was preparing a new set of sanctions against Russia, but on Friday, US President Barack Obama told reporters on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Wales that the restrictions may be lifted if a long-term sustainable ceasefire is reached in Ukraine.
Similar statements were made by UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, France’s President Francois Hollande.
Kiev authorities and militia forces agreed on a truce that started at 6:00 p.m. Kiev time (15:00 GMT) on Friday, although shelling continued later in the night.
The United States and the European Union introduced the first a package of targeted sanctions against Russia in March, in response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia. As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, several rounds of sanctions from the United States and its allies followed, including those targeting Russia’s defense, energy and banking sectors.
Moscow has repeatedly called the language of sanctions "counterproductive," saying the measures «threaten international peace and stability» and run counter to the principles of international law.