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Belgium favors closer dialogue with Russia — envoy

Belgium supports development of dialogue with Russia

KRASNODAR, April 11. /TASS/. Belgium supports development of dialogue with Russia both on a bilateral level and in the European Union and NATO, Belgian Ambassador to Russia Jean-Arthur Regibeau told TASS on Wednesday.

"We all understand that today’s situation is not the most difficult one, so it is very important not just to keep dialogue, but to develop it as well. Of course, this concerns not just Belgium, but the European Union and NATO as well," he said, answering a question on how Belgium plans to build relations with Moscow over the poisoning case of former colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, UK.

The diplomat reiterated that Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will visit the Russian capital in January, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders, in February. "I think it is a great approach to the way we wish to develop our bilateral relations," the envoy continued. "Yes, our opinion differs from that of Russia, even regarding Crimea’s reintegration. Moreover, it stresses the need that if we have different opinions we should not just talk, but listen to each other as well."

"It is necessary to make efforts to further conduct dialogue between the two countries in the most difficult moments," Regibeau added.

In March, a number of countries, including Belgium, made a decision based on groundless accusations of Russia’s involvement in Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia’s poisoning to expel more than 150 diplomats in total. Moscow responded in kind based on the principle of reciprocity.