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DUSSELDOFRF, November 24. /TASS/. Relations between Russia and Germany should improve, Russia is important for the settlement of global conflicts, German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in Dusseldorf on Thursday.
"Relations between Germany and Russia can and should become better once again. We in Europe and in Germany must be interested in relations with Russia as with a reliable partner, we need Russia to settle a number of conflicts,’ he said.
"I believe that despite differences, it is necessary to use all possibilities to keep the dialog going and maintain contacts," the vice chancellor said.
A gradual implementation of the Minsk agreements should lead to a gradual lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia over the developments in Ukraine, Sigmar Gabriel also said.
"My position is that we must use progress in the implementation of the agreement to gradually lift sanctions," the vice-chancellor said. "It is not clever to stick to the position under which the agreement must be implemented by 100%, and then sanctions must be lifted by 100%," he said.
The official said Europe and Germany saw the development of the events in Ukraine as violation of international law. "Russia interprets these events absolutely differently, but sanctions have affected our economic relations," he noted. "That is why, it is important that we do our best for the implementation of Minsk (agreements)," the German minister said.
"I believe that despite differences, it is necessary to use all possibilities to keep the dialog going and maintain contacts," the vice chancellor said also.
The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.