BRUSSELS, October 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will discuss in Belgium on Tuesday relations between Moscow and Brussels and international issues. The visit programme includes talks with the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders, who for the first time visited the Russian capital in this capacity this January.
The ministers will consider the full range of issues of bilateral relations and exchange views on the key issues on the international agenda. Sergei Lavrov will deliver a speech at the Royal Institute for International Relations.
“The visit will be special, because this year our countries celebrate the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations,” the RF Foreign Ministry said. “Over this period, the Russian-Belgian ties have reached the level of strategic partnership and continue to develop progressively. They have established an intensive political dialogue.”
Moscow has stated the resumption of the bilateral inter-parliamentary relations, which had a break due to the Belgian political crisis. “At the end of September - beginning of October 2013, a deputy group of the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament on cooperation with the parliaments of the Benelux countries visited Brussels at the invitation of the Belgian parliament,” the ministry recalled.
Belgium “remains our reliable business partner, the bilateral economic cooperation is strengthening, despite the fact that in 2012, under the impact of adverse global economic conditions, the volume of Russian-Belgian trade turnover decreased by 2.7 percent, compared to 2011, to 11.3 billion US dollars.” Over the first six months of the current year, the mutual trade volume has increased by 7.4 percent, compared with the same period of 2012, and reached 5.9 billion US dollars.