SOCHI, October 23. /TASS/. Russia is strengthening its partnership with Asia-Pacific countries along with developing European ties, not instead of them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on the sidelines of the Valdai International Discussion Club on Thursday.
“We have never pretended that our ties with the East and with the Asia-Pacific region are developing instead of ties with Europe and the West as a whole,” Lavrov told leading international experts debating Russia's role in the world.
“We announced long ago that our interaction, including in the economic sphere, with Asia Pacific states and participation in regional integration processes are top priority issues in our foreign policy, and are closely linked with implementing efforts aimed at an upswing in developing the Far East and Eastern Siberia,” he said.
“Now that our European and American partners alongside Australia and New Zealand have taken a decision to come forward with a range of unilateral illegal measures of economic cohesion, we continue — even more intensely — to move in the eastern direction for quite understandable reasons,” he added.
“But we are doing it in parallel with strengthening ties with Europe, not instead of them. We would prefer our European direction not to lose momentum though we have lost it due to the European Union’s stance,” Lavrov said.