5 February 202112:30

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, Moscow, February 5, 2021

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Mr High Representative, dear Josep,

Colleagues,

Welcome to Moscow. We have talked regularly over the last year, remotely. This is our first face-to-face meeting in a long period, and it is an appropriate time.

We have noticed the excitement that accompanied the preparations for these talks, including the variety of strong recommendations concerning what you should do here, or what requirements you should put forward. We are ready to answer any questions that you intend to raise during today's meeting and will try not to disappoint you.

I would like to reiterate that we are ready to discuss any topics of interest to you, including regional conflicts and other matters. The main problem we all face is the lack of normalcy in relations between Russia and the European Union – the two largest players in the Eurasian space. It is an unhealthy situation, which does not benefit anyone.

Sporadic discussions on hot international topics or mutual concerns and complaints cannot replace a systematic, comprehensive approach to our relations – an approach we used to practice before. It was implemented through the appropriate mechanisms, but was later dismantled by the European Union unilaterally. Therefore, the time is ripe and even overripe for a detailed, honest review of the state of affairs in relations between Russia and the EU. I hope that, alongside other matters you plan to focus on, we will be able to consider this fundamental topic.

Welcome again.    

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