German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has called on the European Union to create conditions by this summer to lift sanctions imposed against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
"That must be our common goal," said Gabriel, whose Social Democrats (SDP) share power with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union.
"[We should] aim for such a deal with the Russian Federation with all our strength," he said, during a meeting of the German-Russian forum in Berlin on March 17.
The West has imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Germany and France have said lifting sanctions depends on Russia complying with the terms of the Minsk peace process, which has stalled.
The EU has extended asset freezes and travel bans on Russians and Russian companies but there is less agreement on whether to extend more far-reaching sanctions on Russia's banking, defense, and energy sectors from July.
Based on reporting by Reuters and RT