"Apparently, not all sanctions will be lifted straightaway, but a decision can be made to cancel them in one of the sectors next year", - reads the statement.
According to one of the diplomats, keeping unity inside the EU in the question of preservation of anti-Russian sanctions is becoming more and difficult.
"Russia is constantly trying to find a way around the sanctions, targeting countries it thinks are softer. They are trying to kill the sanctions with a softly-softly approach," one of the diplomats, from a country which favors their continuation, told Reuters.
"The result is that we are seeing more and more countries saying we should analyze the sanctions, assess what effect they are having, and review them again."
Italy, Greece, Hungary, Cyprus, Slovenia, Slovakia and Bulgaria were among Moscow's prime targets, diplomats said. Even German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also spoke in favor of gradually phasing out the sanctions last month.
In the light of next year elections Chancellor Angela Merkel may be affected by the pressure from German business, which suffer losses due to the sanctions.
See also: Obama, Merkel discuss Minsk Agreements