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Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has forced a retreat from new sanctions on Russia as Germany, France and Britain pulled back their demand for fresh EU penalties against Moscow over the bombardment of Aleppo.
During nine hours of talks at a European summit in Brussels, the Italian prime minister succeeded in removing a proposal for new sanctions, reports The Financial Times.
Renzi, whose premiership is on the line in a constitutional referendum in December, said as he left the talks around 2am on Friday that it was difficult to see how the task of achieving peace in Syria was linked to new sanctions.
According to The Times, Angela Merkel of Germany, François Hollande of France and Theresa May of Britain had led a last-minute push for sanctions on Russia by calling for “further restrictive measures targeting individuals and entities supporting the regime”.
But such language was deleted from the final communique, which said only that the EU was “considering all available options, should the current atrocities continue”.
There were reservations about sanctions from leadership in Spain, Austria, Cyprus and Greece, but other objectors stood back as Renzi took the lead, said the paper.
Renzi attended a White House state dinner in his honor on Tuesday evening.