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DAVOS, January 22. /TASS/. European leaders could start talks with Russia on creating a free trade zone after the conflict in eastern Ukraine ends, German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel told the Davos economic forum in Switzerland on Thursday.
“The next step in Europe may be talks with Russia on free trade,” Gabriel said at the session of the two-day conference, stressing that this will be only possible after Russia fulfills the agreements envisaged by the September Minsk memorandum.
The German minister stressed that “we all want to soften sanctions,” but Russia should first take a step and do what was agreed in the Minsk documents on resolving the conflict.
“The next step should be a discussion between us on how this partnership can develop after we solve the current problems, and this can be done only through the compliance with the Minsk protocols, and there is no alternative,” he said.
He reminded that it was President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to establish a free-trade zone stretching “from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” “And the next discussion between us should be how to offer them (Russia) the way out,” the German politician said.