West ‘starts listening to Russia’: Lavrov says Europeans want better relations after Munich talks

West ‘starts listening to Russia’: Lavrov says Europeans want better relations after Munich talks
Europeans want relations with Moscow to go back to normal, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said after a long chain of meetings in Munich, Germany, adding that Europe is increasingly ready to listen to what the Kremlin has to say.

The Russian delegation has held more than two dozens of “nonstop negotiations” with foreign officials over just two days at the Munich Security Conference. Those included even some European nations that talk hard on the Kremlin publicly, Lavrov told journalists after meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono.

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“All talks were constructive, including those with the politicians, who otherwise make tough statements about Russia when they hold speeches in the European Parliament or elsewhere,” the senior Russian diplomat said.

Everyone assured us that they want normalization of relations.

Speaking on his general impression of the conference so far, Lavrov noted that the international community “has started to listen more” to Russia, adding that the hard work Moscow was doing over the past years has apparently paid off. “We are patient people … in a strategic sense,” the minister said.

Lavrov believes that Washington’s continued attempts to impose its will on other nations “threaten the international trade system” and have already backfired by fueling the “feeling of uncertainty” in the world. The US’ “unilateral coercive measures … its attempts to apply their legislation extraterritorially and force other nations to comply with the laws of a foreign state” only contribute to “confusion” among its own allies, he said.

The minister reasoned that “all sensible powers” should come to the negotiating table and develop inclusive formats that would take into account the interests of all major players. However, Washington apparently struggles to accept the multipolar world, he believes.

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The comments came after US Vice President Mike Pence sought to use the Munich event to lecture Washington’s allies on what they should and should not do – particularly in the cases of Russia and Iran. The speech was met with some resistance from Brussels and Berlin.

Pence particularly clashed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over their conflicting views on the Nord Stream 2 – the Russian gas pipeline project it develops together with some European companies, and which the US has long sought to undermine. While Pence claimed the project somehow threatens European security, Merkel maintained that Europe must retain sovereignty over its energy policy.

Lavrov also touched upon this issue as he recalled his talks with German officials and said that Berlin still views the Nord Stream 2 as a “purely commercial project” and shows no signs of caving in to the US pressure.

When it comes to Nord Stream 2, I have not heard anything that would indicate a change in Germany’s stance on this…economic project.

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