12:34 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Belgian Agro-Food Group Urges End to EU's Mutually Harmful Anti-Russia Sanctions

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    The renewal of trade ties between the European Union and Russia would have a positive impact on both sides, the secretary general of Fresh Trade Belgium association told Sputnik on Thursday, urging politicians to stop using sanctions as a political tool, ahead of the Belgian parliament's hearing on a resolution to end EU anti-Russia restrictions.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian Federal Parliament is expected to discuss on January 24 a resolution, introduced in summer by a parliamentarian from the People's Party, Aldo Carcaci, calling on the country to lift the sanctions imposed against Russia.

    "The Russian embargo continues to show its heavy impact on the EU agrofood sector. Reopening of the market and renewal of the trade relations would have a positive effect both for the European and the Russian economy," Veerle Van der Sypt from Fresh Trade Belgium, an association for exporters, wholesalers and importers of fruits and vegetables, said.

    Van der Sypt noted that though the issue of sanctions remain the responsibility of the European Commission, the national resolutions, such as the one that will be treated in the Belgian Parliament at the end of January, are a strong signal that strategies have to change.

    "A system of sanctions and counter-sanctions works contra productive. All political parties involved should sit around the table and work on a political solution, based on dialogue and diplomacy, instead of imposing sanctions that only result in losses on both sides," Van der Sypt added.

    Van der Sypt highlighted significance of Russia as an enormous market with a distance only of three days drive by truck from Belgium and informed that Belgium’s pear sector and growers and traders of apples and tomatoes especially feel the direct negative impact of sanctions.

    Since 2014, relations between Russia and the European Union, including Belgium, deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

    Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability. In response to the restrictive measures, Russia has imposed a food embargo on some products originating in countries that have targeted it with sanctions.

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    sanctions, European Union, Aldo Carcaci, Russia
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