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Kremlin welcomes Juncker’s decision to attend St. Petersburg Economic Forum

May 30, 13:23 UTC+3
The twentieth St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will be held on June 16-18
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Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

© EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. Kremlin welcomes the decision of the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to attend St. Petersburg International Economic Forum but does not indulge in excessive optimism. "Obviously we welcome this preparedness (to conduct a dialogue)," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, adding that "President Putin has repeatedly said about Moscow’s being interested in conducting and enhancing such a dialogue."

"I would probably not indulge in excessive optimism and look for any signs of a breakthrough in each step," Peskov added. "The recent descent to the sanctions rhetoric, the recent descent to renunciation of dialogue and cooperation in many areas have obviously had their negative implications, and it will be hardly possible to cope with those implications in a flash," he said, adding that "it will also take some time to restore mutual confidence, which has been seriously wavered, as it cannot be done overnight."

"The readiness to conduct a dialogue for consensus searching regarding the issues where we still have many disagreements is the most positive element of such a visit as we’re convinced that positions can only be brought closer via dialogue," Peskov said, adding that "no one has ever succeeded in narrowing the gap using sanctions, confrontational statements and the like."

According to Kremlin spokesman, in general the subject of relations between Russia and the European Union (EU) is "extremely important." "They (the relations) are not in their best state now. We’ve been living without a fundamental document for many years already. As you know (the sides) failed to agree upon it long ago while later on the cooperation and dialogue on many parameters regarding the line that our European partners stuck to, was scaled down," Peskov said.

Moscow hopes the trend will be reversed, he said. "And what is most important - it will be possible to enter the trajectory of bilateral relations in line with the countries’ interests," Peskov added.

"We see that despite the general decisions taken in Brussels, many European countries still demonstrate their interest in improving relations and expanding cooperation with Russia at the bilateral level, in order to make up for the losses of the last two years," he said.

The twentieth St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will be held on June 16-18. The new economic reality and the search for new growth drivers will be the key topics for discussions at the Forum.

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