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    EU Foreign Ministers Unlikely to Lift Anti-Russia Sanctions Monday

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    Western Sanctions Against Russia (737)
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    European Union foreign policy chiefs are unlikely to make a decision to lift anti-Russia sanctions at their meeting Monday, according to an EU diplomatic source.

    MOSCOW, January 14 (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — Foreign ministers from the European Union are unlikely to make a clear decision on the relief of anti-Russia sanctions at their meeting next Monday, an EU diplomatic source told Sputnik Wednesday.

    European Union foreign policy chiefs are expected to hold talks on the anti-Russia sanctions on January 19. Prior to the meeting, a four-page discussion paper was prepared and circulated to the EU states by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday.

    "During Monday's debate, I do not expect that decisions will be taken with respect to EU sanctions affecting Russia," the source told Sputnik.

    Most likely, the most fruitful discussion of the sanctions issue will take place closer to when the sanctions expire in March.

    "A very concrete discussion on EU restrictive measures will arise among EU member states when the restrictive measures will be reviewed towards the end of their validity period. For the measures targeting persons and entities responsible for action against Ukraine's territorial integrity, this discussion will take place before the beginning of March," the source stated.

    Earlier on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal cited the discussion paper, which is a confidential note on EU-Russia relations. According to the publication, the paper suggests a gradual normalization of the EU relationship with Russia, given the latter's implementation of peace and ceasefire deals with Ukraine and fulfilling gas deals made with Kiev.

    The paper also favors a "more proactive approach" by the European Union in three spheres of cooperation — foreign policy (in particular, countering the Islamic State militant group), trade and "sectorial cooperation". Moreover, dividing sanctions into two groups – those related to Russia's reunification with Crimea and others that can be lifted in the event of progress on Ukraine, as well as possible trade-offs are under consideration, according to the newspaper.

    The United States, the EU and their allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia over its alleged role in Ukrainian conflict. Moscow has repeatedly denied those allegations. The sanctions target individuals, accused of escalating the crisis, as well as Russia's banking, energy and defense sectors.

    Western Sanctions Against Russia (737)


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