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EU foreign policy chief, US secretary of state discuss Russia on the margins of G7

The agenda included the Iran nuclear deal, the European Union External Action Service reported

BRUSSELS, May 4./TASS/. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell met on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the margins of the G7 Ministerial Meeting to discuss relations with Russia and China, as well as the Iran nuclear deal, the European Union External Action Service reported.

"The meeting was an opportunity to discuss on a bilateral basis some of the most urgent foreign and security challenges ahead, which were also the subject of discussion among G7 Foreign Ministers in their two-day meeting," it said.

They focused on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program "in view of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA," the EEAS said.

Borrell and Blinken also discussed ties with Russia in light of Russia’s recent military build-up in Crimea and on the border with Ukraine, the health of Alexei Navalny, "and Russia’s actions against EU Member States and sanctions against EU citizens."

Besides, they discussed relations with China, Afghanistan and the increasing instability in Colombia, the statement said.

According to a press release from the US Department of State, Antony Blinken and Josep Borrell, who is also Vice President of the European Commission, "discussed ways to deepen U.S.-EU cooperation on shared foreign policy priorities, including Russia, Iran, China, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa." "Secretary Blinken reiterated the U.S. commitment to revitalize and raise the level of ambition in U.S.-EU relations," the press release said.

EU protest

Earlier, the EU’s External Action Service issued a statement expressing condemnation and rejection of Russia’s actions. Brussels argued that Russia’s counter-sanctions against the EU were "entirely groundless" and the cumulative effect of these sanctions, alongside the expulsion of Czech diplomats and measures that Russia had taken against unfriendly states would cause further complications in the EU’s relations with Russia.

EEAS spokesman Peter Stano said that the EU foreign minsters would discuss relations with Russia in Brussels on May 10. Also, this issue is on the agenda of the G7 foreign minsters’ meeting in London on May 3-5.

Russia’s countersanctions

On April 30, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement containing a list of citizens of EU member-states prohibited from entering Russia. Among the eight officials on this list are the European Parliament’s President David Sassoli, the EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova, Berlin’s Chief State Prosecutor Jorg Raupach, and head of the laboratory of chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear safety at the Research Institute for Total Defense of Sweden Osa Scott.

Moscow’s decision was in retaliation for the EU’s restrictions the EU Council imposed on six Russian citizens on March 2 and 22.