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Finnish top diplomat says dialogue with Russia important for EU countries

European countries are interested in direct dialogue with Russia, the top diplomat says

STOCKHOLM, October 12. /TASS/. European countries are interested in maintaining direct dialogue with Russia, Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini said on Wednesday

"Our European colleagues who have no dialogue with Russia always ask us questions as they want to know what we speak about. Apparently, they are willing to understand Russia’s thoughts and stances. So I suggest that they should start talking with Russia themselves," the minister said in an interview with the Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Finland in summer on the invitation of his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto. The Finnish foreign minister had four meetings with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov over the past year.

"I know that there are different views on how to build relations with Russia. I don’t want to teach anyone in this regard, first of all our Swedish friends. Russia is our neighbor and our method is to debate and maintain dialogue with them, expressing our views as well as criticism," Soini said.