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Austrian opposition leader calls for lifting sanctions against Russia

August 11, 2014, 9:25 UTC+3 VIENNA
“Within only two days the sanctions have damaged our agriculture,” Heinz-Christian Strache, head of Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party, said
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Heinz-Christian Strache

Heinz-Christian Strache

© EPA/MANFRED FESL

VIENNA, August 11. /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union should immediately lift the sanctions against Russia and offer diplomatic settlement of existing disputes, Heinz-Christian Strache, head of Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party, said, the Austria Press Agency reported on Monday.

“Within only two days the sanctions have damaged our agriculture,” he said. “ Instead of inviting Russia to dialogue, they are introducing sanctions, which drag the agriculture into the abyss.”

The only way not to allow the exacerbation of relations with Russia is for the EU to “lift immediately the sanctions and go back to diplomatic means.”

“The Cold War methods are unacceptable in settling disputes in the 21st century,” the party leader said, adding he feared the situation might cause irreversible effects.

Besides, he criticized the Ukrainian authorities, saying the threat of stopping transit of natural gas from Russia to Central Europe “is an insult of its allies and scoffing at the EU.”

The oppositionist demanded from the European Commission and from Austria’s government a “clear response” to the current situation.

On August 7, Russia imposed a package of measures to respond to economic sanction from the United States, Australia, Canada, the European Union and Norway. Thus, Russia banned for a term of one year the imports of fruit, vegetables, milk and dairy products from these countries. Some types of ready-to-eat meat and fish products (with the exception of sausages) have not fallen under the ban. According to the Russian Federal Customs Service, these countries exported 9.1 billion U.S. dollar worth of products, which are now on the sanction list, in 2013, with the European Union countries accounting for 6.5 billion U.S. dollars of that sum.

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