Thursday, Dec 11, 2008
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the EU is Moscow’s strategic partner but warns Brussels against meddling in its backyard.
“The EU is Russia’s closest neighbor and partner both in politics and economy,” Lavrov said at a meeting with foreign businessmen on Wednesday.
He said bilateral relations between Brussels and Moscow “are acquiring a new quality, and we have every reason to describe them today as strategic partnership.”
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Lavrov expressed satisfaction at the level of the Russia-EU relations, recalling the dispute over the country’s military measure against Georgia as further evidence which showed once again that “Russia and EU need each other.”
“There are many important problems, which just cannot be settled without our participation. At the same time, we regard our strategic partnership with EU not as a result, but as a basis for a further development of cooperation,” he said.
The Russian minister, however, urged the United States and other Western countries to avoid ‘behind-the-scenes meddling’ in Moscow’s backyard.
He said Moscow understands that the US and European Union have interests in the region, but the West must not protect those interests at the expense of Russia.
Lavrov reiterated Russia’s opposition to US missile defense plans but expressed hope for constructive relations with the incoming US administration.
The US and Russia are at odds over a number of issues including Washington’s plans to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic, which Moscow deems as a threat to its sovereignty.
This article was posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 5:02 am