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MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. Dialogue between the civil societies in Russia and the European Union is at a standstill, Moscow is in favor of improving the dialogue formats within non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with representatives of Russian NGOs on Wednesday.
"The Russia-EU dialogue between the civil societies is at a standstill as well, just like official and inter-governmental relations," the minister said. "It is very important for Russia’s relations not only with the EU but also with the West as a whole to always have some channels for informal discussions on any, even the most acute issues."
"If our official partners in the European Commission are trying to evade the resumption of the work of all mechanisms frozen by them, I believe our partners in Europe from among the non-governmental organizations need to be more receptive and less bound by bureaucracy and bloc discipline," he said.
"It is clear that there cannot be ‘business as usual’ in our relations with Brussels," Lavrov went on to say. "This ‘business as usual’ was the fact that they were trying to impose on us the agreements and cooperation schemes without taking our interests into account. This era has long become history."
"We are committed to improving various dialogue formats, which would make it possible for NGOs in Russia and the European Union to cooperate on an equal footing, seek joint humanitarian and cultural projects and, at the same time, create favorable conditions to suggest to the governments the areas that can be promising in terms of overcoming the crisis created as a result of the EU’s policy of ultimatums," the minister added.
Russia’s foreign ministry is prepared to provide assistance to the country’s non-profit organizations to be awarded a consultative status at international bodies, Lavrov said.
"Only 64 Russian NGOs have a consultative status at the UN economic union while more than 4,000 [such organizations] maintain consultative relations with the UN," the foreign minister said.
"We are convinced that the authority of Russia’s civil society among its colleagues is immeasurably higher than these figures, we will be ready to encourage the petitions of our NGOs to international bodies asking to award them a respective status," he said.