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Steinmeier: Further anti-Russian sanctions may hamper talks

October 23, 2016, 23:31 UTC+3

The sanctions may close the window of opportunities for talks that are so badly needed, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said

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BERLIN, October 23. /TASS/. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday he is against further European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions over the situation in Syria’s Aleppo as they might adversely tell on the talks on the Syrian settlement.

"I am afraid that the re-use of solutions that were applied in former conflicts, of sanctions will not help prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the case of Syria, since sanctions have a delayed effect to be able to help open a humanitarian corridor," he said in an interview with the ARD television channel. "Even, on the contrary, they may close the window of opportunities for talks we badly need."

In his words, the European Union’s sanctions against Russia were meant to exert political pressure. "What has worked in respect of one conflict cannot be applied to another one," he said. The current task, he said, is to find possibilities to open humanitarian corridors to deliver food products to Aleppo and evacuate those wounded.

The three-day humanitarian pause declared by Russia and the Syrian military has proved to be too short, Steinmeier noted, adding that it could be a beginning of a lasting truce.

The European Union’s summit held in Brussels on October 21-22 yielded a statement where the European leaders said the European Union is ready to look at any possible replies to Russia’s policy in Syria. However they avoided the use of the term "sanctions." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the summit she would like to see tougher wording of the statement, with possible extension of restrictive measures against Moscow. 

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