German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the signing of a sanctions bill against Russia into law splits the “common ground” reached by the US and Europe with regards to the Russian Federation, during a joint press conference with Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajcak in Wolfsburg, Friday.

SOT, Sigmar Gabriel, German Foreign Minister (German): “The strength in the past in dealing with Russia, after the annexation of Ukraine which was against international law, was that the United States and Europe have acted together, that we have agreed that we have voted together against Russia. The fact that sanctions against Russia are now approved by the American Congress and accepted by the American President leaves this common ground. I believe that such a splitting is not good, neither for the United States nor for Europe nor for our behaviour against Russia.”

SOT, Sigmar Gabriel, German Foreign Minister (German): “Secondly, the draft law quite openly admits that it pursues economic interest. And we do not think this is acceptable. Foreign policy topics will be offensively connected with American economic interests, and to say ‘we would like to get Russian gas off the European market’ so that American gas can be sold there is not something we can accept.”

SOT, Sigmar Gabriel, German Foreign Minister (German): “Above all things, the third reason is the most important one: this law includes extraterritorial sanctions, that is, they apply not only to American companies, they apply also to companies of other parts in the world, also in Europe. And companies that do not uphold the sanctions, but still have trade in the American market – there there are many German companies – many Europeans could be penalised for it. We think that is at all acceptable, and because of this we would like to further discuss with the American administration the use of possibilities that the American president has already expressed in his signing statement – he said he wants to consult with his other allies and friends in Europe, he doesn’t want [it to be a] law against European interests. But such words must be followed by actions, and because of this we do have a very clear approach towards the fact that the new administration of the United States is diametral and opposing the interests of Germany and the European Union.”

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