02:49 GMT +324 October 2016
    Gerhard Schroeder attends VTB Capital investment forum

    Former German Chancellor Calls Extension of Anti-Russian Sanctions ‘Absurd'

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    Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder strongly opposed the decision of the West to extend sanctions against Russia

    In interview with German media, the politician stated that anti-Russian sanctions are still in place despite "obvious progress" in the implementation of the Minsk Agreement.

    "What I have been criticizing — and this is the mistake of the German government — is that, despite the clear progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreement sanctions against Russia not only remain in place, but are being extended. This is almost absurd," Schroeder said.

    Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin have maintained friendly relations even amid the conflict between Russia and the West following the start of the Ukraine crisis in 2014.

    The German politician repeatedly stated that anti-Russian sanctions are counterproductive and that cooperation with Moscow is essential for ensuring the European security as well as the resolution of current international crises.

    With regard to the Syrian crisis, Schroeder argued that the West has made "a big mistake", trying to resolve the Syrian conflict without participation of the country's leader Bashar-al-Assad.

    "The West made a big mistake hoping to find a solution to the conflict in Syria, while starting negotiations about Assad's resignation," Schroeder said.

    The politician also added that, in his opinion, the war in Iraq was one of main reasons for today's tensions in the Middle East and the emergence of Daesh.

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