Relations between Russia and the EU leave much to be desired and the last seven years were a missed opportunity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
Addressing a meeting with representatives of the Association of European Businesses in the Russian capital, he said trust between Moscow and Brussels was undermined due to the latter’s “unilateral actions.”
“Ideally, we want to find common ground in those areas where our interests coincide and business cooperation, projects, investments, trade are sectors where such opportunities exist,” he said.
Lavrov added that Moscow stands for pragmatic cooperation, despite economic sanctions because Russia and the EU are neighbors and economic partners.
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He suggested that Russia and the EU can learn from the current energy crisis, and agree on terms on gas deliveries to avoid price hikes in the future.
The minister also stressed the importance of cooperation on coronavirus vaccines recognition, claiming there is some progress on this issue between Moscow and the European Medical Agency (EMA).
At the same time, he slammed a new EU carbon tax, harshly affecting Russian supplies to the EU, obstacles for using the Nord Stream II pipeline as well as some other measures that the minister sees as “unjust.”
Since much speculation about US possibly negotiating with India for bases for over the horizon strikes on Afghanistan….One qun. If the US didn't carry out those strikes in July or August, when Taliban was taking over Afghan cities, as it had promised, why would it do so now?
— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) September 15, 2021
Russia is ready to interact with the EU, US and NATO on the Afghan issue; however, Moscow opposes the transfer of military infrastructure from Afghanistan, or the deployment of new military infrastructure in Central Asian republics with the goal of carrying out “over-the-horizon strikes on Afghanistan,” which can turn these countries into a “target for terrorists,” he said.
Lavrov urged Washington and Brussels to take a more responsible position regarding Afghan refugees, recalling there are a lot of people who worked for the US and NATO.
Asked about Russia’s expectations from a new set up in Germany, the minister wished the new government would be formed “as soon as possible,” and hold “a consistent position towards Russia.”
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He said the Russian and French presidents may soon meet in person, and currently the two sides are discussing “ the optimal timing of the next contact.”
Russia regrets the current “unsatisfactory state” of the relations with the EU, but is not ready to give up its own interests and will only maintain dialogue on the principles of equality and mutual respect, he added.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk