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German vice-chancellor hopes to normalize relations with Russia

September 14, 2014, 13:55 UTC+3 BERLIN
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BERLIN, September 14. /ITAR-TASS/. German Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economics and Energy Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday he hoped for normalizing relations with Russia that had emerged over the Ukraine crisis.

Europe needs Russia and both the EU and Moscow are close neighbors and good neighborly relations have primary importance, the German vice-chancellor said in an interview with the newspaper Bild am Sonntag published on Sunday.

The example of large international conflicts, such as those in north Iraq and Syria, shows that it would be good to work jointly with Russia on their settlement, he said.

Replying to a question about whether it was necessary to tighten sanctions against Russia, Gabriel said he hoped such measures of pressure would change Moscow’s stance on the Ukrainian developments.

He also said that attempts should be continued to bring all the warring sides in the Ukraine armed conflict to a negotiation table.

Gabriel said the efforts, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier were taking, were the sole proper way to settle the Ukraine crisis, despite all failures.

The United States and the European Union have imposed a series of sanctions against Russia over its stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine. Moscow has responded by imposing an embargo on food imports from the countries that had earlier slapped sanctions against Russia.

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