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Diplomat says EU persuaded US to amend Russia sanctions bill but concern persists

July 26, 14:40 UTC+3 BERLIN

"We have been able to persuade our partners in Washington that we need to act together," the German diplomat said

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BERLIN, July 26. /TASS/. The European Union has been able to persuade the US to make a number of important amendments to a bill on anti-Russian sanctions, but concern persists, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a press briefing in Berlin on Wednesday.

"Concern over the issue has been voiced not only by the German industry. About four weeks ago, the German foreign minister and the Austrian chancellor expressed concern saying that anti-Russian sanctions should not be a tool of the US industrial policy," he said.

"Over the past four weeks, we - the German government, the European Commission and the European Union - put forward our arguments to Washington," he noted. "The bill that has been passed is a considerable improvement compared to what we saw four or six months ago. We have made good progress. We have been able to persuade our partners in Washington that we need to act together."

The bill is yet to be approved by the Senate, after which it will be submitted to the US president for possible signature into law. "It is too early to say yet that everything will be endorsed in its current form," the diplomat said.

According to Schaefer, industrial policy should not be implemented under the guise of sanctions, and that was a point made by Germany earlier. "This remains relevant, and we will continue to convey this message to our partners," he stressed.

Germany’s concern

The US bill approved on Tuesday contains restrictive measures against Russia imposed by the Obama administration on the basis of his executive decrees. The issue at hand is the sanctions imposed on March 6 and December 18, 2014, April 1, 2015, July 26 and December 29, 2016.

Europeans are concerned about the fact that the bill mentions the Nord Stream-2 project. The document says that the US government should push ahead with its efforts to counter the construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline. It asserts that the project has a harmful effect on the European Union’s energy security, the development of the gas market of the Central and Eastern Europe and energy reforms in Ukraine. The bill also states that the US government should prioritize exports of US energy resources to Europe to create jobs in its economy.

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