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  Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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Moscow has no reason to believe that the problems with ratifying the EU constitution treaty will negatively affect Russia-EU relations
Moscow has no reason to believe that the problems with ratifying the EU constitution treaty will negatively affect Russia-EU relations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today. "Our analysis has not yet shown that we might encounter serious problems in relations with the EU due to this," Lavrov told an investors' conference organized by Renaissance Capital. "At least our European partners have given us assurances to this effect and we hope we will act within the framework of existing mechanisms." He said Russia-EU relations were based on four "road maps" that had been drafted on the basis of the existing mechanisms in the EU. He added that there was no reason to fear that these mechanisms might fail. Lavrov said he hoped Russia's future chairmanship of the G8 club of advanced countries (it takes over the chair at the end of this year) would prompt the country's G7 partners to recognize it as a full member. The minister said Russia wanted to diversify its contribution to the G7 as far as possible. He said Russia had major opportunities with regard to transit and the energy industry. "Our attention will be focused on energy issues in the near future," Lavrov said. He also said Russia was at the forefront of efforts to write off the debts of the poorest countries. The minister said he hoped Russia's partners at negotiations on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization would objectively assess the economic situation in the country. "We would like our country to join this organization on the appropriate terms," he said. "I hope our partners at the negotiations will proceed from objective assessments of the economic situation in Russia." He said Russia and Latvia were considering the establishment of an intergovernmental commission on trade and economic issues. "We will proceed from Russian interests when developing this project," the minister said, but added that he did not see any obstacles to the development of economic relations between Russia and Latvia. When answering a question about Russia's relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States, the minister said Moscow was interested in developing partnerships with those countries. "But of course we hope they will take into account our interests when developing this partnership as well," Lavrov said. He said Russia did not have a monopoly on development of relations with the post-Soviet countries. "But we would not like anyone else to have such a monopoly," the minister said. "We recognize the interests of other EU member states and the U.S. in this region." He said the region was important from the standpoint of efforts to combat terrorism, and to solve transit and other problems
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