MOSCOW, November 19, /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union exerts “tactless pressure” on focus countries to force them join Eastern Partnership, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei on Tuesday.
“We do not exert pressure on anyone. We only ask, taking into account existing obligations, to assess in advance what consequences will be not to take offence at anyone later,” he said.
“If we compare our honest, friendly position with actions of some EU member-states, these are they who really exert pressure saying ‘if you are with us, you will have a bright future ahead, if you take step backward - you will have a dark past’,” Lavrov said.
The Russian diplomat expressed bewilderment that “even at the initial stage Russia was accused of hampering this process and exerting pressure on countries invited to Eastern Partnership.” “These are very unfair arguments, although they are often heard from some or other European officials.”
“Our position that has been repeatedly made public by Russian President Vladimir Putin is that it is a sovereign decision of a concrete country whether to sign or not to sign some or other documents,” Lavrov said. “This also concerns Eastern Partnership.”
The European Union invited Russia “to move further towards simplifying trade and investments rules other than the conditions of the World Trade Organisation stipulate,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia set to promote these processes, but only when its economy proved ready for this.