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French lawmakers adopt non-binding proposal to lift Russia sanctions

A mobile phone cover with a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin and which reads "Mr President" is seen in this photo illustration taken a in hotel room in Kazan, Russia, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s lower house of parliament voted in favour of lifting European Union sanctions against Russia on Thursday, in a non-binding vote that went against the Socialist government’s recommendation.

French deputies voted by 55-44 in favour of the resolution to lift the sanctions slapped on Moscow by the 28-member EU after Russia annexed Crimea and tension escalated with Ukraine.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans party, as well as centre-right and far-left groups voted for lifting the sanctions. The Socialists and Greens voted against the resolution put forward by conservative lawmaker Thierry Mariani.

“(The sanctions are) totally ineffective today to solve this international crisis and are dangerous for France’s interests,” Mariani, who represents French residents in eastern Europe and Russia, said.

The European Union, along with the United States, imposed economic sanctions on Russia in July 2014, targeting its energy, banking and defence sectors. Sanctions expire in July and can be extended.

“The purpose of these sanctions is to have leverage to get back to negotiations,” said Junior Minister for Europe Harlem Desir, who had called on the National Assembly to dismiss the resolution.

Reporting by Emile Picy; writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Leigh Thomas