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Norwegian MP calls for removing Europe’s anti-Russian sanctions

August 02, 2017, 15:34 UTC+3 OSLO
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OSLO, August 2. /TASS/. Representative of Norway’s ruling Progress Party and Second Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense Christian Tybring-Gjedde has pointed to the need to remove the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the European Union in a comment in the Aftenposten newspaper published on Wednesday.

According to the lawmaker, Europe’s stance on anti-Russian sanctions should be reconsidered due to the expansion of the US sanctions, which will have "negative effects for Norway and other allies [of Washington]." He noted that Europe "must realize that Russia will not return Crimea," but the implementation of the Minsk agreements must be a necessary condition for removing sanctions.

"This issue is now discussed in Europe, and I believe Norway should tackle it with the European leaders and work on removing the sanctions," Tybring-Gjedde said. He added that the Norwegian Foreign Ministry should convey to both Moscow and Washington that the US' and Norway’s interests in terms of fresh American sanctions do not coincide.

"The [US] sanctions can lead to disrupting the construction of the planned pipelines. That will hit the European oil and gas sector, and the US could potentially stand to gain from that. The fresh sanctions impose restrictions on economic cooperation with Russia, and this could have direct consequences for Norwegian companies cooperating with their Russian counterparts in the oil and gas sphere."

Foreign Ministry’s stance

Meanwhile, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende told Aftenposten that Tybring-Gjedde’s remarks "do not reflect the government’s position." Although Norway is not a EU member, it has joined all European restrictive measures against Russia since 2014.

"Just like the EU, Norway believes that the key to lifting these restrictive measures is in Russia’s hands," he said. According to the minister, the sanctions will be removed as soon as Russia "begins to comply with international law norms" and implements the Minsk agreements. He emphasized though that Norway "shares the concern expressed by Germany, France and the European Commission" regarding the potential effect of Washington’s anti-Russian sanctions for Europe’s economy.

Rift between allies

Last week, the US Senate approved a bill specifying tougher unilateral American sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. Now the legislation titled "Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act" will be submitted to US President Donald Trump for his potential stamp of approval.

Europeans are concerned about the fact that the US is planning, through these measures, to impose restrictions on cooperation with Russian companies on pipeline construction and prioritize exports of US energy resources to Europe.

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