Full statement by French minister following 'historic' parliament vote to end Russian sanctions
I think it’s a great success for all the people who value our relations with Russia. I sponsored this resolution, and for three weeks we had been working to ensure attendance, because, as you know, on Thursday mornings it’s a bit empty here. I’d like to point out that there was a significant number of MPs present and the results are clear, as there was a 10-vote difference.
It’s a big surprise. Moreover, it was the first time that the French Parliament got the chance to express its opinion [on the issue of sanctions]. Up until now, Europe has been voicing its opinion, but not separate countries. And now for the first time a big country has expressed its opinion, and the answer our National Assembly gave is a resounding no. We’re in favor of lifting the sanctions, and we ask for it to be done.
The government is not bound by this resolution. However, this is a historic event. As far as I can recall, there hasn’t ever been a resolution that the government ignored. Now Francois Hollande must assume responsibility. The French parliament has made its decision. The French parliament is asking for the sanctions to be lifted.
France is always talking about being the birthplace of human rights, about the need to respect the will of the people. Now I’m waiting for France to listen to the parliament’s will and demand for the sanctions to be lifted during the next round of talks.
It would come as a surprise if Francois Hollande doesn’t endorse Parliament’s decision. It would be a hard slap in the face of democracy. Besides, the Minsk agreements were signed thanks to Francois Hollande. I think that if they’re not being implemented, the responsibility lies on both parties [to the conflict], but mainly on the Ukrainian [government], since the necessary reforms have not been adopted via the Verkhovna Rada voting on them. I don’t believe the French President can disregard the decision the French Parliament voted in favor of.
I’m sure that if asked, the parliaments in other European countries for their opinion, the result would be the same. For two years we weren’t given the chance to discuss this issue, for two years we were told that it’s not our business, its Europe’s business. I believe in national sovereignty, in the independence of parliaments. The French Parliament expressed its view, and I hope the government will take it into consideration.
I hope that these sanctions, which I consider completely unjust, will be discontinued.
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