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    French former President and head of French right-wing opposition party Les Republicains (LR) Nicolas Sarkozy

    Terrorism Forcing French Politicians to Review Policy Toward Russia

    © AFP 2019 / SYLVAIN THOMAS
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    Nicolas Sarkozy's political party "The Republicans" supports the idea of rapprochement with Moscow in order to jointly fight against international terrorism.

    France is likely to seek the improvement of ties with Russia after the presidential elections in April next year.

    Following a series of terrorist attacks that took place in France over the course of last several months, the country's authorities started to consider ensuring security and prevention of new attacks as the main goals on their political agenda.

    "Three months ago everyone thought only about the economy, social issues and the level of unemployment in the country. Today, the main subjects […] are the fight against terrorism, security and protection of national borders," a representative of the party told Russian newspaper Izvestia on the condition of anonymity.

    "Changing priorities and the need to combat the growing threat of terrorism have forced candidates to reconsider their attitude to Russia. Everyone understands that only in cooperation with Russia can radical Islamic forces be defeated," the source added.

    France suffered from a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, in which 130 people were killed, and a terrorist attack in Nice in July 2016, which claimed the lives of 84 people. In July, another attack took place on French soil, with a priest being killed at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy.

    The frequent terrorist attacks have raised security concerns across the country and made many politicians review their political strategies. While the issue of security has increasingly gained attention among the French public, economic problems and, among them, the issue of anti-Russia sanctions hvae, on the contrary, started to lose their relevance.

    According to the source, the Republicans have always considered anti-Russian sanctions ineffective.

    "All agree that the restrictive measures are not a solution to political problems. Although initially the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions was associated with the implementation of the Minsk agreements, now the majority of the Republicans understand that the implementation of the agreement's provisions can't depend only on one party. In addition, with the lifting of sanctions the economic situation in France will also change for better," the source said.

    In June, French lawmakers voted 302 to 16 to lift sanctions against Moscow, given the impact of counter-sanctions on France's own economy. A number of EU members have made similar considerations, including Germany.

    In 2014, Brussels, Washington and their allies introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions after Crimea became part of Russia, accusing Moscow of annexing the region and meddling in the Ukrainian conflict. The sanctions target individuals and companies in different sectors of the Russian economy, including the defense, financial and energy sectors.

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

    Related:

    Why France Does Not Want to Take Russia's Approach in Fighting Terrorism
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    terrorism, cooperation, Russia, France
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