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Kremlin hails French Senate’s resolution on softening sanctions

June 09, 2016, 13:57 UTC+3

Russian top officials comment on French Senate’s advisory resolution on easing anti-Russian sanctions

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View of the assembly room at the French Senate in Paris

View of the assembly room at the French Senate in Paris

© AP Photo/Francois Mori

MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The resolution of France’s Senate on easing sanctions against Russia "can be only welcomed," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

"No doubt, this decision can be only welcomed," Peskov said answering a TASS question.

Peskov reminded that Moscow has stated many times that the ‘sanctions dialogue’ has no prospects. The Kremlin spokesman stressed that the issue of the future of the anti-Russian sanctions is not part of Russia’s agenda.

The French Senate passed a resolution on Wednesday on "gradually softening" the sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union. The majority of the participants in the plenary meeting of the upper house of the country’s parliament - 302 senators - voted for it, 16 voted against this decision. The meeting was attended by a total of 335 senators. The resolution is advisory.

The French government cannot ignore the decision

Speaker of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Sergey Naryshkin has said that the French government should take into account the Senate’s resolution in favor of lifting anti-Russian sanctions.

"The resolution is advisory, but the government cannot ignore parliamentarians’ opinion, the more so since France is a state governed by the rule of law. In a law-governed country, it is impossible to defy the opinion of lawmakers," he told reporters on Thursday.

"Of course, I consider this decision to be positive," Naryshkin said. He noted that "an opinion contrasting the anti-Russian rhetoric and Russophobia will gradually prevail in the minds of European politicians and parliamentarians."

"And the French Senate’s decision is in a series of such decisions," he added.

Europe is tired of sanctions

The resolution shows that Europe is tired of sanctions, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Franz Klintsevich told reporters on Thursday.

"The resolution passed by the French Senate is quite symptomatic," he said.

Despite its halfness (senators called not for lifting the sanctions altogether but for softening them gradually), "nevertheless, the conclusion is quite obvious: Europe is tired of anti-Russian sanctions," Klintsevich noted, adding that there is more to it than just economic losses. "There has been a growing awareness that the world in which sanctions run the show cannot be safe," he said.

Klintsevich also drew attention to differences in the approaches of European officials and lawmakers towards anti-Russian sanctions. "One gets the impression that EU officials and parliamentarians live in parallel worlds. While some indulge in saber-rattling and attempts to scare the population with a nonexistent Russian threat, others, for the most part, favor the development of mutually beneficial relations with our country", he said, adding that "parliamentarians, not officials represent the people, and they have every right to talk on their behalf."

The EU won't lift the sanctions 

Senior Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov has not ruled out that the European Union may ease its stance on the anti-Russian sanctions after the resolution but the document is unlikely to have a significant impact on the decision on the sanctions.

"I don’t think that the resolution itself can have a decisive influence on the decision that will be taken in July on sanctions against Russia," Pushkov, who chairs the lower house’s foreign affairs committee, told the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

"I don’t rule out that the EU can somehow soften the position in its words - and say that we take into consideration the viewpoints voiced in the French parliament and as soon as the implementation of the Minsk accords begins we will start considering the issue on softening the sanctions," he said.

The lawmaker said some intensification of relations with the leaders of the EU and the European Commission could be expected. "Such resolutions wash out the logics of sanctions, it is subjected to a very serious erosion."

Signal to the country’s government and the EU Council

The resolution of the French Senate calling to ease anti-Russian sanctions gradually is a "serious signal" to the country’s government and the Council of the European Union, Russian Federation Council lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday.

"The resolution puts a dent in the ‘unanimous and unconditional’ pressure on Russia in general and at least in this respect is a step in a right direction," said Kosachev, who heads the upper house’s foreign affairs committee, stressing that the document was adopted by a 90% majority with an almost 100% turnout at the Senate’s session.

This is a "very serious signal to the government of France and the Council of the European Union," he said.

The senators did not dare to speak about France’s special interests, including the problem of pig breeding that is indeed on the brink of collapse due to the failure to cope with the falling prices and rivalry with major German producers, he said.

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