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PARIS, September 16. /TASS/. The West needs to improve its relations with Russia if it wants to successfully settle the Syrian conflict, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.
Speaking on television during a program when he was talking to the country’s leading political and economic journalists, Sarkozy said: "If I were president, I would never make the decision to conduct a policy of sanctions against Russia."
"First of all because we need Russia’s help to find a solution to the Syrian puzzle. We need to form a united coalition for actions in Syria, and that’s what we need Russia for," he said.
"When I was France’s president, I had to settle the very complicated problem of an armed conflict in Georgia. And I settled it without any sanctions against Russia, without a situation when French agricultural producers would be sustaining losses, like today, of 1 billion euros due to reduction of exports," Sarkozy said.
For incorporation of Crimea after a coup in Ukraine in early 2014, Russia came under sanctions on the part of the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon intensified following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia supported militias in self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in destabilization of Ukraine.
As countermeasures, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum.
A system of import substitution had to be introduced in Russia in connection with imposition of Western sanctions on Russia for developments in Ukraine and Moscow’s countersanctions.