18:37 Jun. 10, 2016
German Chancellor supports idea of common economic zone with Russia after Ukraine conflict is settled
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday (June 10) that sanctions imposed against Russia over the Ukraine crisis were not to end in themselves and that implementation of the Minsk peace agreement was key to getting them lifted.
Merkel also said that in the long term, the European Union should aim for a common economic zone with Moscow which would extend from Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok to Lisbon.
"We should move gradually towards this goal," she said, speaking at a corporate event.
Merkel also addressed the ongoing European refugee crisis, reiterating remarks that "Europe has, I think, also after last year, not yet taken in one million Syrians. 500 million Europeans have not yet taken in one million Syrians while the neighbouring countries there have a whole different burden to carry".
"I believe that it's good if refugees can stay close to their homeland and that's why it's right to make three billion euros available to Turkey so they can create adequate living conditions on the Turkish-Syrian border for the many Syrian refugees there," she added.
Germany took in a record 1.1 million migrants from various countries last year.
REPORTING BY REUTERS