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Russia ready to continue cooperation with EU — Lavrov

November 30, 2017, 8:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The top diplomat comments on Russia's relations with the European Union

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© REUTERS/Johannes Eisele

MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. Russia is ready to continue cooperation with the European Union to resolve migration issues and fight against terrorism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Italy’s Libero newspaper.

"We are ready to continue cooperation with the EU in the migration field and share our experience in resolving migration issues," he said. "We would like contacts within the Russia-EU Dialogue on migration to resume as soon as possible," he added. "We are definitely willing to strengthen interaction with the European Union in the fight against terrorism," the Russian top diplomat stressed.

Moscow expects the European Union to stop dancing to the tune played by the Russia-hating minority, he said. 

"We hope that the EU agencies will muster the strength to stop shaping its policy towards Russia based on the lowest common denominator, and will stop dancing to the tune played by a small but highly aggressive group of Russia-haters within the EU," he said.

"For our part, we will boost cooperation at a speed suitable for our European counterparts," the Russian top diplomat added.

When speaking about the possible removal of sanctions against Russia, Lavrov pointed out that "this question should be forwarded to Brussels." "Indeed, sanctions are harmful for Russia’s cooperation with the European Union and its member states," he added. "It has become obvious that sanctions imposed by Brussels bureaucrats, who act on Washington’s orders, have now boomeranged back, delivering a blow on the European manufacturers. They have partially lost their positions on the Russian market and continue to suffer considerable losses," he noted.

"As for America, it has not suffered damage because our trade is insignificant," the Russian foreign minister said. "It means that the US authorities seek to achieve their anti-Russian goals at Europe’s expense, making the EU do all the job for them. I think it is a thing worth considering," he said.

In this regard, Lavrov mentioned his recent meeting with representatives of the European companies active in Russia. "Their position is unequivocal, they don’t want politicians to meddle in business and impose restrictions," he stressed.

Pseudo-liberal values

Russia is worried over the West’s attempt to substitute universal human values for pseudo-liberal ones and organize their aggressive export despite resistance from other nations, he went on. 

"We are worried over the policy of a number of Western states towards substitution of universal human values for pseudo-liberal ones, and not only at home," he noted. "Attempts at their aggressive export never stop and such attempts are met with ever-growing resistance from other nations which want to keep their style of life, their national identity. We are confident that solidarity of the world community should rely upon traditional ideals common for all major world religions and cultures."

It is obvious that "it is impossible to resolve numerous problems of today without strengthening the moral basis of international life," Lavrov stressed. "We will spare no effort to help build inter-state relations on the principles of honesty, truth and justice."

"Russia, which is historically built on the basis of peaceful co-existence of cultures, religions and nationalities, attaches great significance to consolidation of society around lasting spiritual and moral values," the Russian top diplomat noted. "We think it is a major aspect of efforts to ensure dynamic development of the country, strengthening its positions in international affairs."

"We never seek to impose anything on anyone, we never teach anyone how to live. We respect the right of world nations to decide about the model of their political and socio-economic system," Lavrov underscored.

Joint struggle with terrorism

Awareness of the importance of joint struggle with terrorism has begun to grow stronger in the West, Lavrov said.

"Western partners began to develop the awareness of the importance of fighting with terrorism by pooling resources just recently," he said.

"The joint statement by the Presidents of Russia and the U.S. on Syria, which they made on the sidelines of the APEC summit conference in Da Nang on November 11, turned into an important political event," Lavrov said. "It registered the joint resolve to bring struggle with the Islamic State in eastern Syria to an end."

Lavrov also pointed out the telephone conversation that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump had on November 21, saying the discussed "[…] the prospects for establishing antiterrorist collaboration."

"Over the two years of the operation [in Syria] the Russian Aerospace Force eliminate more than 900 training camps, more than 660 workshops for the manufacturing of munitions and about 1,500 units of armaments controlled by the terrorists," he said.

"About a thousand cities, towns and villages have been liberated and 95% of Syrian territory has been cleared of IS units by now," Lavrov said. "A return to peaceful life has begun, as 1.12 million people from among the refugees and internally displaced persons have returned to their homes.’

He indicated the number of returnees totaled 660,000 this year alone.

"I’d like to stress along with it our strict abidance by the principles of international law in what concerns all our steps towards Syria," Lavrov said.

Middle East and migration problems

Those taking active part in creating instability in the Middle East and North Africa, should be responsible for helping refugees and migrants, he went on. 

"We believe that countries which actively participated in spreading instability throughout the Middle East and North Africa, should be the first responsible for helping refugees and forced migrants," he said. "In this connection, we consider the concept of divided responsibility, promoted by some countries, as an attempt to shift the burden to others," the Russian top diplomat added.

According to Lavrov, the migration crisis that the European countries were facing, was a consequence of foreign interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign states in the Middle East and North Africa. "The large-scale migrant crisis affecting Europe is the direct consequence of the malicious practice aimed at ‘exporting’ political systems and meddle in the domestic affairs of sovereign states, first and foremost, of those in the Middle East and North Africa," he pointed out. "Such short-sighted steps have weakened or even destroyed governing institutions, triggered humanitarian catastrophes and an upsurge in terrorism and extremism, which caused a mass exodus of people from the region," the Russian foreign minister noted.

Lavrov went on to say that it would be possible to resolve the migration issues in Europe only after the causes for migration were eliminated. "Clearly, it is impossible to effectively resolve migration issues that Europe is facing without addressing their causes," he said. "There is a need to double efforts to find political solutions to crises and conflicts in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. Assistance should be provided to the regional countries in restoring and strengthening their statehood, improving the social and economic situation and adopting a path to sustainable development," he added. Besides, Lavrov reiterated Russia’s initiative to form a broad United Nations-sponsored anti-terrorist coalition, which stipulated "an uncompromising fight against the terrorist threat."

At the same time, the Russian top diplomat highlighted the need to put an end to terrorists’ activities in Europe. "Today, it is important to ensure appropriate control of migratory flows, particularly preventing terrorists, mingling with those who really need help, from entering the European countries. "It is unacceptable that forces seeking to spread ethnic, religious and social hatred use refugees in a political manipulation game. It is even more unacceptable that new militants be recruited and trained in refugee camps. At the same time, countering xenophobia, racism and intolerance towards migrants is important," Lavrov said.

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