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France is wise in seeking an end to sanctions against Russia

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France is wise in seeking an end to sanctions against Russia

Thanong Khanthong

France is a voice of reason amid deteriorating relations between the European Union and Russia.

BANGKOK: -- On January 6 its president, Francoise Hollande, called for the EU to end sanctions against Russia because they serve no one's interests. Once a timetable to end the Ukraine crisis is settled with Russia, the sanctions should be lifted. Yet most of France's European partners maintain a hard-line position against Russia.


Hollande had been in telephone contact with Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, to find a way out for the Ukraine crisis. Putin would like Ukraine to remain at least as a buffer state between Europe and Russia, rather than going all the way to become a member of Nato.

Hollande did not point out a growing risk of a war with Russia, but it was clear he had just that risk in mind when he advocated an immediate removal of the sanctions. Bilateral trade between the EU and Russia exceeds US$400 billion.

The sanctions equally hurt both economies at a time when Europe is still stuck in a recession and Russia has gone from a relatively healthy economy into a full-blown crisis, aggravated by the plummeting rouble due to the currency attack.

The following day, January 7, France suffered a national tragedy when two gunmen stormed the office of Charlie Hebdo, a media company, killing 12 people, of whom eight were journalists and two others policemen, and injuring many more.

It is the worst terror Paris has suffered in recent memory.

Is France paying the price for its middle-path policy in trying to resolve the crisis between the US and Europe on the one side and Russia on the other?

It is too early to speculate. At this point Islamic militants linked to ISIS have been blamed for the daring act of terrorism. So far France has experienced a difficult relationship with its major partners in the Group of 7.

France has been pressured to put on hold its delivery of two Mistral helicopter carriers to the Russian navy to comply with the West's sanctions. It insisted on meeting its commercial and military obligations to Russia.

It followed that the US handed down a devastating verdict against BNP Paribas over allegations that the French bank did financial transactions with countries on the US blacklist, such as Sudan, Iran and Cuba. BNP Paribas agreed to a settlement of more than $9 billion.

In November Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of Total, France's largest oil company, died when his plane crashed while taking off from Vnukovo Airport in Moscow. De Margerie had met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev outside Moscow to discuss oil joint venture projects.

Total was working on the Yamal project, a $27-billion joint venture to extract natural gas in northwest Siberia. Already Total was one of the largest foreign investors in the Russian energy market, and de Margerie had insisted on maintaining the ties with Russia in spite of the West's sanctions.

Wednesday's act of terror in Paris represents a seemingly unconnected chain of events that has hurt France badly at a time when it seeks to become a voice of reason in Europe.

So far Germany still holds a staunchly anti-Russian stance in the Ukraine crisis. So do the UK and the US.

The sanctions if continued will further isolate Russia and push it on the brink of economic disaster. An injured white bear can fight back fiercely. If that is the case, it will not bode well for global security.

Nations should follow the lead of France in trying to defuse the tensions between the West and Russia to avert disastrous consequences.

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/France-is-wise-in-seeking-an-end-to-sanctions-agai-30251496.html

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-- The Nation 2015-01-09

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Those French people lost all back bones they ever use to have, they do about face on many

of the policies they held secret and firm to the French ideology, but the current adulterer president,

who no body really care for, is trying to change the rules of the game, I don't envy him at,

what with the surge of radical Islam on his hands, he's got his work cut out for him for

generations to come...

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Nut job. Stop sanctions because they are doing what supposed to do? The whole point is to make it hurt more than withdrawing. Incentive to follow international law. Resolve the Ukraine crisis? Yeah, Ivan.. go home. Very clear example of just plain old territory grabbing. Get out. End of discussion. Same for Crimea... Russia signed treaty guaranteeing border integrity when Ukraine unilaterally disarmed nukes.

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Don't be surprised if Russia turns off the gas one of these days if sanctions continue.

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Funny - The Nation talking about the voice of reason.

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The French should sell the ships to China and China can sell them to Russia.....oh, wait....Russia doesn't have any money.

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Nut job. Stop sanctions because they are doing what supposed to do? The whole point is to make it hurt more than withdrawing. Incentive to follow international law. Resolve the Ukraine crisis? Yeah, Ivan.. go home. Very clear example of just plain old territory grabbing. Get out. End of discussion. Same for Crimea... Russia signed treaty guaranteeing border integrity when Ukraine unilaterally disarmed nukes.

no way is Putin backing down because of pressure from the west, and trying to bankrupt them Regan style is bad for the world economically and world peace. best to give Putin a way out, kiss and make up

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France is the back stabber to every country, if it does not suit them that's it. UK went to France's aid in WW11 and gave that bent nose DeGaul every thing but when UK first applied to enter the EU he blocked the entry.

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Don't be surprised if Russia turns off the gas one of these days if sanctions continue.

Not so easy to do when your economy is slumping, a bit like kicking yourself.

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Nut job. Stop sanctions because they are doing what supposed to do? The whole point is to make it hurt more than withdrawing. Incentive to follow international law. Resolve the Ukraine crisis? Yeah, Ivan.. go home. Very clear example of just plain old territory grabbing. Get out. End of discussion. Same for Crimea... Russia signed treaty guaranteeing border integrity when Ukraine unilaterally disarmed nukes.

no way is Putin backing down because of pressure from the west, and trying to bankrupt them Regan style is bad for the world economically and world peace. best to give Putin a way out, kiss and make up

Very true, Russia does not want to lose face with threats. Help them with a respectful way out.

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Nothing to do with selling ships I suppose?

Selling ships that are completed, or nearly so. An oil JV. France's economy is in a very sick shape. Hollande is driven by the interests of France, which is his job, not by morals, justice or what's right for Ukraine.

Pure and simple - France needs Russian money.

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