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Working visit of Minister Jean Asselborn to Moscow on 28 February 2020

Published Friday February 28 2020


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 27-28 February 2020 for a bilateral meeting, followed by a working lunch.

Minister Asselborn's meeting with his Russian counterpart on 28 February provided an opportunity to discuss bilateral relations between Luxembourg and the Russian Federation and to review the diplomatic, political, economic and trade links between the two countries.

The two Ministers had the opportunity to discuss ways of strengthening bilateral relations between Russia and Luxembourg, including in the economic sphere and people-to-contacts. 

Overall, the Ministers welcomed the continued exchanges between their countries at all levels, as well as the fact that economic relations continue to develop satisfactorily in the light of the circumstances. "As Europeans, Russia is our neighbour, and between neighbours, we need to talk to each other and visit each other from time to time to assess the situation and thus better understand each other and move forward on a good basis. It is this state of mind and the desire to have a lucid dialogue that drives Luxembourg in its relations with Russia," stressed Jean Asselborn.

Expressing his concern about the human rights situation in Russia, Minister Asselborn encouraged the Russian authorities to guarantee the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Russian Constitution, which include transparent, inclusive and competitive elections, as well as freedom of opinion, expression, association, assembly and the media. In this context, the Luxembourg Minister considered that a visit to Russia by the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, would be useful to deepen the dialogue in this area.

The exchange of views then covered topics on international issues, in particular the situation in Syria and Libya. Minister Asselborn appealed to stop military operations in the Idlib region to end the humanitarian disaster affecting civilian populations. The two Ministers stressed the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in accordance with international law and United Nations resolutions.

The ministers then discussed the situation in Ukraine and the challenges of a possible next summit in the Normandy format. Expressing his hope that the work in the Normandy format will consolidate the efforts undertaken, Minister Asselborn also stressed to his Russian counterpart the importance of Russia that exerts its influence in a positive way and of Ukraine that assumes its responsibilities. In this context, Jean Asselborn recalled Luxembourg's support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. He hoped that the commitments made at the Paris summit would be honoured and reiterated that the implementation of the Minsk agreements was the key to resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

With regard to relations between the European Union and Russia, relations between NATO and Russia and cooperation within the OSCE and the Council of Europe, Minister Asselborn encouraged the continuation of a constructive dialogue in order to achieve a closer partnership with Russia, which is a key player in ensuring peace and security and strategic stability. In this regard, the Luxembourg Foreign Minister called for an extension of the New START treaty beyond 2021.

The two Ministers took stock of cooperation within the United Nations and expressed their willingness to deepen it.

The working meeting was followed by a press conference and a working lunch at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

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