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Lavrov: Russia favors sincere, fair talks with EU over Eastern Partnership

February 18, 2014, 16:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

“We want the dialogue between our neighbors and the EU to be transparent," Russia's minister of foreign affairs added

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MOSCOW, February 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia favors sincere and fair talks with the European Union over Eastern Partnership and the energy issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a meeting with Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet on Tuesday.

“The energy dialogue is a cornerstone of Russia-EU strategic partnership,” the Russian minister said commenting on an article by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in Kommersant daily.

“All should be so as Cathy Ashton writes in her article by respecting the obligations whether they are before the OSCE or within Russia-EU partnership, or whether these are the obligations that the participants in the CIS free trade zone have,” he said, adding “They should be respected.”

Commenting on Russia-EU trade relations, Lavrov said, “Moscow favors a gradual movement towards this goal.”

“Russia jointly with the Customs Union partners seeks to increase goods’ competitiveness. Then we want to start a talk on liberalization of trade with the EU,” he said.

The EU is committed to “EU-centric logic” towards the Eastern Partnership countries, Lavrov said.

“Catherine Ashton tried to react to certain provisions of my article on the situation in Ukraine. For example: she writes that she lauds my statement saying Eurasian integration is aimed at harmonizing integration with the EU. I didn’t write this. I said Russia and members of the Customs Union, as well as the European Union should seek to harmonize integration processes,” the Russian minister said.

“I want to say, European integration should harmonize due to integration processes. There is a difference. We favor equal process while the EU is committed to its logic,” he said.

“We want the dialogue between our neighbors and the EU to be transparent. Ashton wrote that the Association Agreement had no negative impact on trade between Moscow and Kiev. Then why it was prepared in secret and why it was not made public until it was initialed?” Lavrov said.

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