“I’m not speaking of the French on that but I won’t bet we will keep the sanctions over and over and over,” Araud said. “I think there will be a moment when some European countries will tell us, ‘Sorry but your sanctions don’t work, and they hurt us, so we have to find something else.’ ”
The ambassador said the sanctions have been especially painful for the French economy, compared to the US economy.
“Our trade with Russia was eleven times more important than your (US) trade with Russia and actually the sanctions have hurt us very much,” Araud noted.
In July, the EU agreed to renew the sanctions against Russia for six months.
“There will be a new debate at the end of December and again [in another] six months,” Araud explained. “I don’t know when [the sanctions will end] but I think it will happen.”
Araud raised the possibility of a gradual lifting of anti-Russian sanctions as one option that the EU is likely to consider.