MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. Russia understands the desire of France and other EU countries to claim a dominant role in one region of the world or another, but Moscow is "not happy" with these efforts, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday at a news conference following talks with his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop.
"We understand but are not happy with the French and other European Union countries’ attempts to claim some kind of dominant role in this or that region of the world," he said.
According to the minister, European representatives are worried about the development of Moscow's relations with African countries amid the West’s attempts to develop its influence in the territories around Russia.
"They themselves, when it comes to the territories around the Russian Federation, do not hesitate to write various strategies, including the EU’s Arctic strategy, the EU strategy on Central Asia, and then they start offering these strategies to the countries of the region <...> these double standards are very sad," Lavrov pointed out.
He also said that Russia is ready to discuss any international affairs issue with Europe, but on the principles of mutual respect of interests. "We are ready to discuss any international affairs issue with our Western colleagues, French, any others, on one condition that we do it culturally, on the basis of respecting each other's interests and, most importantly, on the basis of respecting decisions of any regions and any countries <...> to choose our partners freely and without any diktat," he added.
According to Malian Foreign Minister, there are external attempts to destabilize the situation in his country. "Countries that claim to defend democracy, unfortunately, organize such attempts. They have official and unofficial means. In any case, we have an assumption that it is some foreign force that is trying to make such attempts," he added, noting that today Malians share the interests of the official government.