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Russian diplomat: Aggressive minority pushes Europe towards confrontation with Russia

September 02, 2016, 20:24 UTC+3 BERLIN

Many EU states want to maintain a dialogue with Russia but an "aggressive minority" is preventing them from doing so, the diplomat told TASS in an exclusive interview

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BERLIN, September 2 /TASS/. Many European Union countries want to develop constructive relations with Russia but an aggressive minority, which pursues a confrontational course, is exerting pressure on them and their policy, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told TASS.

"It is not a matter of OSCE. We do not live in vacuum," Meshkov said commenting the remarks of the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier on serious divisions between the East and West at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"Regretfully, the recent years have seen the emergence of political forces in various European countries, including our neighbors, which are building their policy on confrontation," the Russian diplomat stressed.

The manifestation of this policy of confrontation, Meshkov said, can be seen at the OSCE; in the Russia-NATO relations; and Russia’s relations with the European Union.

"Unfortunately, this aggressive minority has been pretty much successful in affecting the common approaches of our western partners to relations with Russia," the Russian diplomat stressed.

Meshkov noted that the number of countries opposed to this policy was growing, and the OSCE was not an exception. "Everybody understands that it is impossible to resolve European or world problems without Russia. The Ukraine and Syria crises also prove that. Everybody understands that the sanctions, which are imposed on our country, are counterproductive and politicized. Those who are particularly active in advocating them are not suffering any economic losses," Meshkov explained.

"But this is how things have been unfolding in recent decades that entire groups of EU countries, who think constructively, have to pay a price for problems, which they have not created," the Russian diplomat concluded.

Touching upon the OSCE ministerial meeting in Potsdam, Germany, Meshkov described it as useful. The Russian side made its position clear to its OSCE partners, the Russian deputy foreign minister told TASS.

"Our common task was to meet informally prior to a meeting of the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers in Hamburg with an aim to verify the watches and understand where we stand," Meshkov said.

"Our second task was to start realizing how we could make the OSCE work more effective and how to turn this organization into the center of pan-European processes," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

"Both themes were discussed. Sometimes the dialogue was constructive. The discussion of other issues revealed traditional differences among states primarily on regional problems - such as the Ukraine crisis and the so-called frozen conflicts," he added.

"Anyway, the talks were useful in our view. As for Russia, it seems that we made our fundamental stance clear to our partners," Meshkov stressed.

"That was our main task. Let’s wait and see if it was fulfilled successfully," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

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