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[BERLIN] German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday that Europe had no interest in imposing tougher new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, but the only way forward was to abide by the terms of last year's ceasefire agreed in Minsk.
"Of course nobody in Europe and certainly not in Germany has any interest in further, tougher sanctions and Europe and the whole world clearly needs Russia as a partner to solve global conflicts and challenges," Mr Gabriel told the German parliament.
"But the way to a new breakthrough in European-Russian relations, the way for example to free trade from Lisbon to Vladivostok, goes via Minsk and the steps agreed there to end the armed intervention in Ukraine," he said.