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 EU's return to better relations with Russia possible, linked to resolution of conflict in Donbas, - Mogherini

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, ahead of her first visit to Russia, described prospects of partnership between the European Union and Russia, the situation in Ukraine, anti-Russian sanctions and the Syrian conflict.

She told in an interview with Interfax journalists, Censor.NET reports.

"Our points of disagreement are well known, but our channels of communication have always remained open. Contacts at all levels are constant on all the files that are priorities for both of us: bringing an end to the devastating war in Syria, the crisis in Libya, the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, ensuring peace in Afghanistan, the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and the fight against terrorism, to mention just a few. There is no global power that can solve any of these challenges alone. Without cooperation among us, instability will continue and will spread," Mogherini said.

Read more: Russia sanctions to be kept until Minsk accords fulfilled, Crimea returned, - US Department of State

"The European Union has an extremely clear position when it comes to our relationship and engagement with Russia. A return to better relations is not only possible but desirable, and it is linked to the resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine - to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. Sanctions are not a policy in themselves, they are linked to the illegal annexation of Crimea and to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We have repeated time and again that when the Minsk agreements are fully implemented, the related sanctions will be removed," the high representative said.

"Every decision we have taken so far about sanctions was agreed by unanimity. And this unity is reconfirmed regularly, as sanctions are reviewed with decisions on their prolongation usually taken every 6 or 12 months. Having said that, we do not aim to extend sanctions 'endlessly': our aim is to see the conflict in eastern Ukraine solved with the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. As I said, sanctions in themselves are not a policy, but one of the tools the European Union, together with many other partners in the world, is using to achieve the end of the conflict in the east of Ukraine," Mogherini stressed.

Read more: Canada ready to stiffen Russia sanctions over Assad regime support, - Trudeau

In 2014, the European Union, the United States and several other countries imposed sanctions against Russia following its occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine. These restrictive measures were repeatedly extended and expanded. In particular, the talks on visa waiver and a new basic agreement on cooperation were suspended; several Russia's officials were banned to travel to the EU while their assets were attached. Trade, financial, and military restrictions were introduced.
 
 
 
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