Interview to Interfax: “Return to better relations with Russia possible, linked to resolution of conflict in eastern Ukraine”

Interview to Interfax correspondents Alexander Korzun and Viktor Onuchko ahead of my visit to Russia. Read on Interfax’ website Question:Ms. Mogherini, what are you going to bring to Moscow? Can your first visit to Russia since you took office in 2014 be viewed as evidence of a softening EU position on Russia and a sign of the prompt overcoming of the crisis in bilateral relations? Does Russia remain a partner for you, or do you share the position of NATO on the need to deter Russia as a potential threat to the security of European countries? Answer: Our relations with Russia are not what they used to be, nor are they what we would wish them to be. But the European Union is still the first trading partner for the Russian Federation, the first source of foreign direct investment, and Russian students are the first beneficiaries of the Erasmus+ program to study in the EU Universities, just to mention a few areas where our ties remain important to both of us. Not to mention our cooperation on some key foreign policy issues. So, my visit to Moscow shows what for me, for the European Union, is vital: in the world of today, you need to be frank on points of disagreement, build spaces for engagement and cooperation, and seek common solutions whenever and wherever our interests converge.Our points of disagreement are well known, but our channels of communication have always remained open. Contacts at all levels are constant on all the files that are priorities for both of us: bringing an end to the devastating war in Syria, the crisis...
A week in China, India and Russia

A week in China, India and Russia

Today I write from Beijing, the first stop in a long official visit to China, India and Russia. In each country I will discuss our bilateral ties and the great international issues we are dealing with together – from Syria to tensions in the Korean peninsula. I start with Beijing: tomorrow I will co-chair the seventh EU-China Strategic Dialogue, in preparation for our next bilateral summit in Brussels; I will also meet with the students of Tsinghua University, and hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Li Keqiang, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, and of Defence, Chang Wanquan, State Councillor Yang Jiechi. Here is my interview with Xinhua. From Friday I will be in India for some institutional meetings, starting with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj: we will prepare the 14th EU-India summit, to be held in New Delhi this year. My trip will end in Moscow, with my first visit to Russia as the European Union’s High Representative. I plan to meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on our bilateral relations, and especially on the current crises, from the conflict in eastern Ukraine to Syria. Here is the press release on this visit. From here in Beijing, today I called Tana De Zulueta, who is leading the OSCE electoral observation mission to Turkey, to hear directly about the results of the work they are doing on the constitutional referendum. Here is my statement with Jean-Claude Juncker and Johannes Hahn on the night of the referendum. We will discuss the outcome of the vote and the future of our relations with Turkey at the informal gathering of Foreign Ministers from the 28 EU Member States, which I will chair next...
For the future of Syria

For the future of Syria

Today I write on my way back from Luxembourg: during the Foreign Affairs Council I chaired, we followed together the terrible news coming from Saint Petersburg. I expressed the European Union’s condolences to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov – here is our statement. The Council today dealt mostly with Syria. Starting tomorrow, we will host in Brussels the international conference on supporting the future of Syria: a meeting with more that 70 delegations to keep helping the Syrian population inside and outside Syria, but also – and crucially – to accompany the negotiations in Geneva and the UN mediation, and to start discussing how to mobilise resources to rebuild Syria after the war, when a political transition will be under way. Today, with the Foreign Minister, we have defined the common European position, with a common European Union’s strategy for Syria. Here are the conclusions we adopted, here the text of the Syria Strategy, here what I told journalists ahead of the Council, here the final press conference. In Luxembourg we also hosted the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, after last week I had the honour to take part in the League’s summit in Jordan. My presence at the summit in Jordan and Abul Gheit’s participation in the Council today both testify an ever stronger cooperation between the European Union and the Arab League. And our cooperation is essential to address the crises in our common region. Today we focused particularly on Libya and Yemen – here are the Council conclusions on the latter –, but also on Syria, Iraq and the peace process between Israel and Palestine. Here is my press point today with...