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    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker arrives to attend a debate on the future of the E.U. to mark the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, March 15, 2017

    Strache's Remark About Anti-Russian Sanctions Misunderstood - Juncker

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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The statement of Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache about the need to lift anti-Russia sanctions could be wrongly conveyed, President of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.

    "Today, along with the chancellor and the vice-chancellor, we have discussed both general and specific issues and I have an impression that several statements of the vice-chancellor could have been conveyed in a not very correct manner. Frankly speaking, I have a very good impression of this government," Juncker said after talks with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the members of his cabinet.

    The EU official said that he hoped that the government of Austria that would assume EU presidency in July shared pro-European positions.

    READ MORE: French Politician: Russian Countersteps Against Western Sanctions Not Surprising

    Earlier in the month, Strache, who is also the leader of the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), said in an interview with the Oesterreich newspaper that "it is high time to put an end to these painful sanctions and normalize political and economic relations with Russia."

    In 2014, the European Union imposed a range of restrictive measures on Russia over its alleged involvement in the crisis in eastern Ukraine and over Crimea rejoining Russia. Russia has denied the claims of involvement in Ukrainian affairs and said that the referendum in Crimea was held in line with international norms. Moscow then imposed a food embargo on countries which had targeted it with sanctions.

    READ MORE: US on Verge of Sanctioning EU Firms Involved in Russia's Nord Stream 2 — Sources

    A number of Austrian officials, including Kurz, have repeatedly called for a reduction of tensions between Moscow and the Western countries, stressing the country's readiness to act as a mediator for the East and West.


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    anti-Russian sanctions, Hainz-Christian Strache, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Union, Russia, Austria
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