France says talking to UAE about replacing Russian oil, diesel

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France is talking to the United Arab Emirates about the supply of oil and diesel as it seeks alternatives to Russian energy sources, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday.

The minister said France also planned to accelerate investment in the transition to cleaner energy, such as speeding up the roll-out of offshore wind farms, to increase the country’s independence.

“We are looking for substitutes to the supply of gas or diesel from Russia,” Le Maire said during an interview with CNews TV and Europe1 radio.

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“For example, the United Arab Emirates can be a solution, at least temporarily, to replace Russian oil and diesel. These are discussions that have already begun with the United Arab Emirates.”

The European Union approved a sixth package of sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine last week that included a partial ban on Russian oil imports.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that Russian oil imports to the EU would be cut by about 92 percent by the end of the year as a result of the agreement. He also said an embargo on Russian gas must not be ruled out.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, said in a separate interview with CNews and Europe1 on Sunday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was using gas in an effort to split Europe as he continues to wage war on Ukraine.

“We must also free ourselves from gas, because Russian gas today, we must get our autonomy back as quickly as possible as Vladimir Putin doesn’t like the European project,” Breton said. “For years, he’s done everything to divide Europe. Now he’s using gas precisely to divide us.”

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