Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, which took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1, has not ruled out that sanctions imposed on Russia may be eased or even lifted if progress is made in implementing the Minsk peace agreements for Ukraine.
"I believe that the lifting of sanctions can be achieved. It is only necessary to implement the Minsk agreements," Asselborn told a press conference after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"The European Union disagrees with the various actions Russia is taking in Ukraine. They cause us concern," the minister said.
However, "we think that the current restrictive measures are not the final stage of our relations, and they are not meant to stay forever," he said.
"If the Minsk agreements are implemented, the sanctions may be reviewed after December 31, 2015, which is a key date. If we make real progress in fulfilling the Minsk [accords] before this date, I am convinced that in this case it will be possible to think of easing or lifting the sanctions," Asselborn said.
Luxembourg, which today holds the presidency of the Council of Europe, "will do everything possible to achieve dialogue," he said.
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