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By Keith Wallis SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent oil futures climbed above $50 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in nearly seven months, boosted after U.S. government figures showed a sharper-than-expected drawdown in crude stocks last week. Gasoline stocks rose 2 million barrels to 240.1 million barrels against forecasts of a 1.1 million-barrel drop, while gasoline demand over a four-week average rose 3.9 percent to 9.6 million barrels last week, the EIA said.
Germany says the EU is facing difficult talks on extending sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine due to the increased resistance of some member states, according to an interview released Thursday. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also told the Baltic News Service (BNS) that the West needed to engage in dialogue with Russia to "rebuild" lost trust and tackle crises in Syria and Libya. Steinmeier, who is to hold talks in Vilnius and Riga on Thursday with Baltic partners Lithuania and Latvia focused on NATO's July summit in Warsaw, said "we are aware that resistance in the EU to extending the sanctions towards Russia has increased.