| BERLIN, July 30
BERLIN, July 30 Germany and the European Union
are trying to convince several non-EU countries to join the bloc
and United States in imposing sanctions against Russia for its
support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, the Foreign
Ministry said on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman at Berlin's Foreign Ministry said Germany was
in talks with countries such as Switzerland and Turkey about
imposing sanctions against Russia after the EU and the United
States on Tuesday announced further measures targeting Russia's
energy, banking and defence sectors.
"There are discussions taking place with countries such as
Switzerland and Turkey," the spokeswoman said after another
senior official had earlier told Reuters of efforts in Berlin to
broaden the list of countries taking action against Moscow.
Germany, which had been among the more cautious about
imposing sanctions against Russia, is now taking a leading role
on pressing more countries to impose sanctions while the United
States is lobbying Asian governments to join.
In Singapore, a senior U.S. State Department official said
the United States was lobbying Asian states, increasingly
important for Russian trade, to join in the sanctions.
The official said he had already been to Beijing and Seoul
this week to speak with senior government officials and business
leaders, and would be in Tokyo on Friday.
Switzerland, a popular destination for many rich Russians
and an important hub for their banking and trading activities,
has so far not imposed sanctions against Russia over Ukraine,
although it has vowed not to serve as a route to bypass EU
Some of the measures imposed by the 28-nation EU will in
practice also apply in Switzerland, however, because it is a
member of the bloc's passport-free Schengen zone, the Swiss
government has said.
Around 75 percent of Russian crude oil exports are traded
through Geneva, according to the Swiss government, and Russian
assets in Swiss banks stood at nearly 13.8 billion francs ($15.2
billion) in 2012, according to the Swiss National Bank.
($1 = 0.9096 Swiss Francs)
(Additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva; Writing by Erik
Kirschbaum; Editing by Kevin Liffey)