France sanguine differences over EU ban on Russian oil will be resolved

·1 min read
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna attend a news conference in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) -France's new foreign minister said on Tuesday she was optimistic that those still opposed to a new European Union sanctions package that would phase out Russian oil imports to the bloc could be convinced and that the bloc would reach a deal.

"We must adopt as quickly as possible the sixth package of sanctions that foresees the progressive end of the imports of Russian oil and to lift the remaining reticence," Catherine Colonna told a news conference alongside her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock in Berlin.

"We hope do it quickly and I'm optimistic."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who until now has opposed a phased embargo on Russian oil, wrote to the President of the European Council on May 23, saying it was unlikely a solution could be found by an EU heads of state meeting next week and that Budapest was not in a position to agree.

Colonna, on her first overseas trip since her appointment as foreign minister last week, sought to underscore the importance of the Franco-German partnership as the conflict in Ukraine enters a fourth month.

"Coming to Berlin as a first gesture was obvious. Franco-German cooperation is indispensable in normal times and even more so in a period of crisis," she said.

The two ministers said their countries would continue to strengthen their military, humanitarian and financial support for Ukraine.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Catherine Evans and Bernadette Baum)

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