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Austrian Foreign Minister Calls to Gradually Lift Russia Sanctions

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz suggested that the European Union gradually lift sanctions against Russia, the Reuters news agency reported Sunday.

The foreign minister suggested a piecemeal lifting of sanctions as each step of the Minsk agreement is implemented, Reuters reported. Such action could be a major step forward in achieving mutual understanding and reconciliation with Moscow, Kurz said.

"I believe that we should gradually come to a modus in which for every implementation of the Minsk Protocol, for every single step, sanctions will gradually be lifted in return," Kurz said on Austrian state television ORF, Reuters reported.

Sanctions against Russia, imposed over its role in the Ukrainian crisis, are set to be extended for six more months following next week’s EU summit.

According to the agreements, sanctions will be wholly lifted only in the case of full implementation of the Minsk peace plan — which has stalled in recent months.

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