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German Industry Demands End to Sanctions, Russia Must Be Part of Solving Middle East Crisis

WIESBADEN, Feb. 18, 2016 (EIRNS)—The Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in Saxony are loudly demanding sanctions against Russia must be ended this year. In a position paper made public Feb. 15 in Dresden, they also emphasized:

"It is clear that we need Russia as an important economic and strategic partner for the solution of global challenges. The conflict situation in the Near East, to name only one example, cannot be solved without Russia. A new Cold War serves neither the solution of current conflicts, nor free trade and the Saxon economy. Russia is and remains an integral part of the European economic space and the European security architecture."

Underlining the potential damage to Saxon machine-tool production facilities, given the Mittelstand’s longstanding ties with Russia, the IHK heads of Leipzig, Dresden, and Chemnitz are demanding that the Saxon state government immediately start an initiative for ending sanctions in the Bundesrat, the upper house of Parliament which is comprised of all the state governments. Saxony’s exports to Russia, much of it machine-tool goods, have collapsed by 25%.

Throughout Germany, industry is demanding the sanctions be ended, not merely because of obvious business interests, but also to establish strategic cooperation with Russia. After Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble’s Jan. 21 call at Davos for Marshall Plan-scale investments in the Middle East and Africa, he gave an interview days later calling for closer cooperation with Russia.

Also on Feb. 15, Mario Ohoven, head of the German Association for Small and Medium-Sized Business (BVMW) addressed 3,000 guests in Berlin at the BVMW New Year reception, where he called the sanctions against Russia "utterly false." Gerd Mueller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, who is spearheading the Marshall Plan initiative, also spoke at the event.

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