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Translation (original)

Translation (original)

Speeches by Minister

13 April 201812:19

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Stef Blok, Moscow, April 13, 2018

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Mr Minister,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Colleagues,

We are happy to welcome you to Moscow.

Our relations have a very long history, dating back to the times of Peter I. So we feel the humanitarian and historical groundwork of our centuries-long ties.

Today, the Netherlands is a very important trade and economic partner for us. Last year our trade amounted to $40 billion, while Dutch accumulated investment in the Russian economy is even over $40 billion. Major Dutch companies are operating in Russia – I believe Shell has been here for 125 years. There are also Unilever and Phillips. I think this impressive package of economic, humanitarian and cultural contacts meets the interests of our countries and peoples.

Recently, our relations have been tested due to the events that followed the coup in Ukraine and that continue fueling the Russophobia campaign in the West. Because of this situation, our political contacts and ties between the relevant agencies have been frozen, not at our initiative. Russia always favours a respectful and mutually beneficial course for cooperation with any country, including the Netherlands. We believe that interruptions in our political contacts are not in our common interests.

We very much appreciate your current visit to the Russian Federation. Incidentally, contacts between our ministries at the deputy and department director levels have not been broken off in the past few years. We regularly hold important and useful consultations. Naturally, now that the Netherlands has become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, this experience will come in handy.

Incidentally, I would like to congratulate you on a very specific and meaningful presidency of the UN Security Council last month. Now, we hope to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues. Many of these issues have been accumulating and they are not becoming any simpler. This is why we appreciate this opportunity.

Welcome!

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