00:19 GMT +322 January 2020
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    Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni spoke out on Thursday against the idea to impose new EU sanctions against Russia over its role in latest developments in Syria.

    ROME (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, a senior EU diplomat told The Financial Times that the United Kingdom, France and Germany were among the countries that are thinking of sanctioning 12 senior Russian officials and up to 20 Syrian presidential administration executives over the worsening humanitarian situation in Syria's Aleppo.

    "We are not convinced by the proposals to impose new sanctions against Russia that we have heard. We should not start from the idea that the EU is a crane for sanctions and that sanctions can solve all the problems," Gentiloni told the Radio Anch'io station.

    The minister recalled that Rome had always been committed to the idea that Moscow could play a positive role in resolving the Syrian crisis. Gentiloni stressed the exclusive importance of a political solution in Syria, which has long been sought by Russia, and called for the cessation of hostilities in Aleppo.

    Syria has been in a state of civil war since a 2011 political collapse. The core of the ongoing conflict is a struggle between moderate Syrian opposition groups, that want to remove President Bashar Assad from power, and government forces. In parallel, Damascus has to counter various extremist groups, in particular, the Islamic State (IS), which is outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

    Russia has been mediating talks on Syria in search of a political solution to the conflict, as well as assisting Damascus in fighting extremists.


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