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Working visit of Minister Jean Asselborn to Moscow on 13 September 2016
Following an invitation by Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn paid a working visit to Moscow on Tuesday 13 September 2016.
In the context of the celebrations of the 125th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Grand Duchy and the Russian Federation the meeting between Ministers Asselborn and Lavrov allowed them to take stock of bilateral relations and discuss issues of common interest.
The Ministers welcomed the ongoing dialogue between their countries at all levels and also the fact that economic relations continue developing in a satisfactory way given current circumstances. They also were pleased that a new protocol on cultural cooperation has been signed last December which should help expand the range of interactions even further.
The talks also touched upon international topics with a particular focus on the situation in Syria in light of the truce deal announced by the United States and Russia on last Friday. Thanking Russia for its efforts in Switzerland this weekend, Jean Asselborn expressed the hope that these will lead to a durable cease-fire, allow humanitarian access to the civilian population, and promote the resumption of the Geneva talks. He also praised the military cooperation between Russia and the United States under the announced Joint Implementation Center.
Ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine and the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements. Minister Asselborn expressed his conviction that the implementation of the Minsk agreements is the key to the peace process, but regretted that progress remains unsatisfactory and that decisive steps are missing. Expressing his hope that the work in the Normandy format will consolidate the efforts made, Jean Asselborn underlined with his Russian counterpart the importance of Russia exercising its influence positively and of Ukraine carrying out its responsibilities for the local elections in the Donbass.
Regarding relations between the EU and Russia, as well as cooperation with NATO and within the OSCE, Minister Jean Asselborn said that the continuation of a constructive dialogue must be encouraged in order to reach an even closer partnership with Russia, a key political and economic player. Similarly, he welcomed the renewed trust between Russia and Turkey, both of which are strategic partners for the EU, which will help reduce regional tensions.
The press conference following negotiations of Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn and Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Moscow, September 13, 2016