MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday he told visiting EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that the blame for the collapse in Russia-EU relations rested on Brussels.
"During talks with Josep Borrell in Moscow, I spoke about importance of building Russia-EU relations on a systemic basis. I recalled that back in 2014 the European Union had ruined the architecture of comprehensive ties with our country, which had been painstakingly built for years," he said in a statement.
According to Lavrov, the key reason was the European Union’s support for the anti-constitutional state coup in Ukraine "with an apparent anti-Russian tinge." He recalled that as a result regular Russia-EU summits and meetings between the Russian government and the European Commission had been suspended and the formats of Russia-EU partnership and other dialogues had been frozen.
"Far before the state coup in Ukraine, the European Union interrupted work on a practically ready draft agreement on short-term visa-free exchanges between Russia and the European Union at the request of certain EU members. The reason: they said they could not grant visa-free exchanges with Russia until they were not provided to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. So, direct politicization and openly anti-Russian implications are obvious," Lavrov stressed.
He drew attention to the fact that after being admitted to the European Union the Baltic republics had launched "an open and sustained" discrimination of their Russian-speaking population. He stressed that pressure on Russian media was growing in these countries and the institute of statelessness still remained in Latvia and Estonia. "What is going on there runs counter to the provisions of the Joint Statement on EU Enlargement and EU-Russia Relations of April 27, 2004, such as Brussels’ liability to protect national minorities. So, the question is: who is drifting away? Maybe it is the European Union that is pushing Russia, the Russian language and culture away from itself," Lavrov stressed.
The minister noted that at Friday’s talks with the EU foreign policy chief the Russian side had reiterated its commitment to normalizing the entire spectrum of relations with the European Union. "Not on the basis of unilateral ultimatums, but on the basis of mutual respect and reckoning with each other’s interests. With such an approach, we are ready for cooperation in those areas where we have similar interests," he said, adding that the talks had yielded an agreement on closer cooperation in the areas of public health, science and technologies as well as combating climate change.
"If we add here the key traditional area of cooperation in the energy sector, we will enjoy quite a serious mutually beneficial agenda, if it doesn’t fall victim to geopolitical games," he underscored.