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EU to delay sanctions on Russia: French FM

The European Union (EU) on Monday decided to delay fresh sanctions on Russia by a week to wait for the outcome of Minsk talks.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said an EU travel ban and asset freeze on 19 Russian and Ukrainian officials has been agreed by the EU foreign ministers and merely delayed to give a chance for peace negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We will see by (next) Monday and see how the meeting in Minsk went," Fabius said at a meeting in Brussels. "The principle of these sanctions remains but the implementation will depend on results on the ground," he added.

EU member states are divided over sanctions against Russia with some countries worrying negative impact on their own economies.

In response to the EU and the United States sanctions on Russia's defense, banking and energy sectors, Russia has imposed a one-year embargo on food from the United States and Europe, banning imports of meat, fruit, vegetable and dairy products.

"Sanctions have cost all of us dearly, the EU has lost 21 billion euros (23.79 billion U.S. dollars) at this point. In Spain, we have suffered in agriculture and tourism," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said before the EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday.

[Source: Xinhua, Brussels, 09Feb15]

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