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21 April 201715:21

Comment by the Information and Press Department on EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini’s visit to Russia

816-21-04-2017

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High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will come to Moscow on a working visit on April 24 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

During the talks, Sergey Lavrov and Federica Mogherini will review key aspects of bilateral relations and important issues on the international agenda.

Russia-EU relations are going through a difficult period. The EU's focus on continuing the sanctions pressure on Russia remains the main irritant. Russophobic sentiment in the European Union is being actively stirred up. We keep hearing groundless accusations of us trying to weaken the EU and influence the outcome of elections in a number of member countries.

For our part, we proceed from a recognition of the need to overcome existing disagreements. We are interested in a stable, predictable and independent European Union that remains our key trade and economic partner (accounting for almost 45 percent of Russia's foreign trade). We are willing to resume and maintain full-fledged cooperation channels with the EU across various spheres.

Despite the current state of the political dialogue and the “freeze” imposed by the European Union on official formats of industry-specific dialogues, our cooperation continues across a number of areas. The first improvements can already be seen, and prospects for mutually beneficial joint work have been outlined. Examples include regular bilateral talks on countering terrorism and organised crime, and regional cooperation, including the implementation of a cross-border cooperation programme for 2014-2020.

We look forward to a substantive discussion of ways to restore our cooperation with the EU. We are willing to build mutually beneficial relations with the European Union and its member countries on the basis of equality, respect for national interests and the objective interdependence of our respective economies, which are geographically close and complement each other.

The international topics to be discussed during the talks include the situation in Ukraine, the Western Balkans, Syria, Iraq, and Libya, the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme, and the Middle East peace process.

The Ukraine crisis remains at the centre of our disagreements with the European Union. We hope that the EU will stop ignoring Kiev's stubborn refusal to fulfill its part of the commitments under the Minsk agreements, primarily with respect to the political settlement, and will pay attention to manifestations of aggressive nationalism, as well as violations of freedom of speech and reporters’ rights in Ukraine.

We are concerned by the unstable situation in the Western Balkans, the lack of progress in the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, which is being conducted with the mediation of the EU. We regard as unacceptable attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states, or to revise the outcome of the vote of their citizens.

In the context of the Syrian settlement, we note the potential of the EU as a major humanitarian donor, which increases the moral responsibility of Brussels, meaning that assistance should not be tied to political demands and preconditions. A balanced alignment of priorities is also needed with regard to the humanitarian situation in Iraq and Yemen. We underscore the importance of making the political process in Libya inclusive.

We note that Russia and the EU have similar approaches to the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. We are willing to continue to compare notes regarding the implementation of the JCPOA.

Progress towards forming a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific could provide an effective tool for bringing relations between Russia and the EU out of their current state. Russia continues to view this project as the most promising in terms of ensuring the long-term and sustainable development of the entire Eurasian continent, which can become an effective tool for taking relations between Russia and the European Union out of their current crisis.

Promoting interaction between the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union could provide an economic basis for such a long-term project. Establishing an EU-EAEU dialogue would help establish a broad zone of stability and peace in Eurasia.

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