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13 February 201813:37

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's opening remarks during talks with Foreign Minister of Belgium Didier Reynders, Moscow, February 13, 2018

221-13-02-2018

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Mr Minister, dear Didier,

We are happy to have this opportunity to hold talks with you prior to your delegation’s participation in tomorrow’s meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union.

The Commission is co-chaired by you together with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, and I am sure that you will discuss concrete economic issues on our bilateral agenda.

I know that the agenda is very full: there is an entire range of promising cooperation areas in energy, aircraft engineering and healthcare. Today we have a good opportunity to see how we can move forward with our foreign policy interaction, including in the context of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s visit to the Russian Federation two weeks ago.

This year marks the 165th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. I think we can again exchange congratulations on this occasion. Of course, contacts between our countries go back even further than 1853: Peter the Great visited Belgium. Nevertheless, 165 years ago diplomatic exchanges became regular and built the foundation for the further sustainable development of relations between our countries.

We look forward to welcoming the Belgian national team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and we wish it success. We will do our best to hold the tournament at the highest possible level.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you for the condolences you conveyed to our Embassy on the crash of a passenger plane near Moscow.

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