MOSCOW, July 10. /TASS/. Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will discuss in Brussels on Tuesday the prospects of bilateral relations and pressing international issues, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
This is the second meeting between the Russian Foreign Minister and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy over the past months. Mogherini visited Moscow on April 24.
The sides are expected to discuss "several aspects of bilateral relations in the context of agreements reached in April on stepping up dialogue on the issues of mutual interest and also topical issues of international agenda," the ministry said.
There is no alternative to maintaining multifaceted Russian-EU contacts amid current tensions and uncertainty in the world, it said. "We welcome the tendency towards the EU’s growing interest in dialogue with Russia. One of priorities is to establish and maintain contacts in security area, first of all, in the issues of countering international terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal migration and also organized crime," the ministry said.
Moscow has no intentions to discuss the conditions for the lifting of sanctions, as it is the EU that should remove restrictions, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry acknowledged that relations between Russia and the European Union "have been going through hard times" but at the same time "sanctions remain the main irritant, which benefit neither of the parties." The source in the Russian Foreign Ministry also said that by extending sanctions on Russia once again, the EU "missed a chance to break out of the vicious sanctions circle spoiling the atmosphere" of bilateral relations.
"While contacting our European counterparts, we have been stressing that it is absurd to link the sanctions issue to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, since it only encourages Kiev to neglect its obligations," the source added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s source stressed that Moscow’s position concerning unilateral sanctions remained unchanged. "We have no intentions to discuss the conditions for their lifting. The one who initiated them [sanctions - TASS] should make the first step and lift them," the source added.
In 2014, the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Moscow over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Some of the Russian officials were barred from entering EU counties and the US, their assets were frozen. Besides that, trade, financial and military restrictions were also introduced. Sanctions have been repeatedly extended and expanded.