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France Wants Sanctions Lifted as Soon as Possible

The French ambassador to Moscow said lifting of sanctions depends on implementing the Minsk agreement, yet he all but conceded it is up to Ukraine to do so

Paris is hopeful that sanctions against Russia will be lifted as soon as possible.

"We have more than once voiced our position that sanctions are not a goal in themselves. Sanctions are creating difficulties both for Russia and for Europe. So we hope that we will be able to lift them as soon as possible," French Ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert has said.

"The sanctions are linked with the implementation of the Minsk agreements," he added.

"This is the reason why we have been calling on Kiev and Moscow to show responsibility so that the Minsk agreements are implemented as soon as possible," the French ambassador said.

When speaking about the implementation of the Minsk accords, Ripert said that the French side finds it necessary to simultaneously move forward in two directions - strictly abide by the ceasefire and ensure Ukraine's adoption of laws envisaged by these accords.

"First, it is necessary to strictly abide by the ceasefire, the withdrawal of weapons and ensure complete control on the past of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe]. In our opinion, a great deal in the issue of making the separatists observe the ceasefire depends on Russia," he said.

"But, on the other hand, there is certainly a need to put pressure on the new Kiev leadership in order to make them approve three laws, which are obligatory - the law on constitutional reform, the law on elections and the amnesty law - as soon as possible," he added.

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