Thursday, April 28, 2016

Symbolic French Vote for Lifting Sanctions on Russia

Symbolic French Vote for Lifting Sanctions on Russia

by Stephen Lendman

America and EU countries illegally imposed sanctions on Russia - Washington four times since March 2014 for fabricated reasons relating to Ukraine.

Nations unilaterally or collectively may not impose sanctions on other countries, individuals, businesses or organizations. International law permits only Security Council members to impose them. 

They’re counterproductive achieving nothing. The EU succumbed to heavy US pressure, instituting its own sanctions on Russian state-owned banks, defense and oil companies, as well as restricting sales of weapons, military and dual-use technologies, high tech and oil industry related products. 

Russia responded in kind, banning imports of various EU agricultural products. Sanctions harm both sides, accomplishing nothing for either.

On Wednesday, 101 out of 577 lower house French National Assembly deputies voted on a non-binding resolution to lift sanctions on Russia - 55 for, 44 against and 2 abstentions, the majority of lawmakers not participating.

The action was symbolic only. Sanctions remain in place. US pressure assures it for now. The State Department insists they’ll remain in force until Crimea is returned to Ukraine.

Its Russian territory. Crimeans overwhelmingly voted to return to the Russian Federation to correct a historic mistake - affirming their UN Charter self-determination right. There’s no going back.

National Assembly member Thierry Mariani initiated parliamentary debate, “call(ing) on the French government not to extend the restrictive measures and economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union.”

“Useless and ineffective sanctions against Russia have today become a heavy burden for French agriculture. That's why I urge members of the parliamentary majority to show responsibility and independence in this issue.”

In January, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said “(t)he objective we all share is to (lift) sanctions by the summer…”

At the time, John Kerry said it depends on implementation of Minsk principles Washington systematically undermines along with putschists it installed in Kiev to make peace unattainable.

EU leaders are scheduled to meet on June 28 and 29. Sanctions expire in July. Whether they’ll be lifted or extended remains to be seen.

Washington’s long arm may keep them in force. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and likeminded US neocons disgracefully call Russia America’s greatest threat.

Their political posturing irresponsibly hypes fear, pushing for increased defense spending while maintaining pressure on EU countries to operate by Washington rules.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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