HELSINKI, May 4. /TASS/. Sweden seeks to normalize relations with Russia but has no intention of turning a blind eye to the current issues of concern between the two countries, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Saturday.
"We want to normalize relations with Russia, but not in such a way that we do not talk about problems. It is important for small countries to make sure that international law and Europe’s stability are respected," he said. According to the prime minister, Sweden disapproves of Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. "The Russian leadership has a different notion of that situation, but that does not prevent our cooperation in other areas, and I believe it is essential to focus on it," he noted.
"Sweden wants to maintain as good relations with Russia as possible. Russia is a big country and our close neighbor. In view of that, the Arctic region is the issue that unites us. Sweden, Russia, Finland and Norway are interested in the development of that region. So [for me] it was natural to take part in the Arctic Forum in Russia (at the beginning of April - TASS)," he stressed.
"There are many issues that concern our two countries. Good relations are important, but we also discuss those issues, on which we disagree," he added.
"Our message to Russia is that excessive tensions will not benefit it either. Russia, NATO and the EU should seek to ease tensions together. That would benefit everyone," Lofven said.
He added that "neither Sweden nor Finland pose any threat to Russia" and are not members of military alliances.