THE HAGUE, February 14 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday begins a two-day visit to the Netherlands to discuss bilateral ties, including preparations for the cross-cultural year in 2013. Late on Tuesday Lavrov will meet with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and on Wednesday he will meet with Dutch counterpart Uri Rosenthal, sources from the Russian Embassy to the Netherlands told Tass.
Talks will focus on the entire agenda of bilateral relations, including preparations for the Russian-Dutch year of cross-cultural exchange in 2013. The sides also plan to focus on energy cooperation and sum up the results of a trade mission of the Netherlands to Russia within the framework Dutch prime minister’s visit to Russia last October.
During his trip to Moscow, the prime minister was accompanied by a heavyweight delegation of 15 leaders of trans-national corporations, such as Shell, Gasunie, Heineken, Boskalis, KLM, as well as heads of 70 smaller national companies representing different spheres of the economy and interested in cooperation with Russia.
During his visit to The Hague, Lavrov also expects to discuss international issues – cooperation within the framework of the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, Russia’s cooperation with the European Union and NATO as well as to exchange opinions on the situation in the Middle East, around Iran, Afghanistan and Syria.
Approaches of the two countries to the settlement of international problems are not always the same. Thus, the Dutch foreign minister has expressed disappointment over the fact that Russia and China vetoed the resolution on Syria at the U.N. Security Council, calling this “a tremendous blow for the Syrian people”.
“Facing such amount of violence in Syria, the international community must act. Assad must go,” said Uri Rosenthal, stressing that his country continues insisting on additional sanctions against the Syrian regime.