Interfax: Issue of lifting sanctions from Russia should be raised by EU – Naryshkin

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. May 12 (Interfax) – Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Russia will not initiate a discussion on the issue of the lifting of the anti-Russian sanctions.

“We, of course, are not going to discuss any criteria for lifting the sanctions. The first step should be taken by the European Union, which took such unfriendly actions on Russia under pressure from the United States,” Naryshkin said during a meeting with members of a delegation of the French senate on Tuesday.

Naryshkin reiterated that the anti-Russian sanctions are not helping resolve the conflict in Ukraine. Moreover, he said these sanctions made Russia take “retaliatory measures that were sensitive to the agrarian sector of the European Union and also made us establish trade cooperation with other countries and, of course, work very seriously on import substitution issues.”

As to the possibility of discussing the issue of the lifting of the sanctions, some Western countries’ leaders spoke in favor of considering the “criteria” for the purpose of a possible decision on this matter, Naryshkin said.

Naryshkin thanked members of the delegation of the French Senate for their visit to Moscow, pointing out its importance. The speaker said the French parliamentarians’ visit is regarded by their Russian colleagues as very important “for better understanding of our positions.”

The State Duma speaker said attempts to restrict the contacts between the two countries’ parliamentarians are pointless and they only complicate the solution of the problems that exist in Europe and in Russian-French relations.

The speaker recalled that the very term “parliamentarism” has French roots and makes us constantly conduct frank and honest dialogue.”