Sputnik News – Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that Russia was ready to restore normal interaction with the EU, if there is an interest in this, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
“The state of affairs in relations between Russia and the European Union was discussed. The Russian side reiterated its readiness to restore normal depoliticized interaction with the EU, if there is a reciprocal interest in this,” the statement says.
The leaders also noted the observance of the ceasefire in Libya, called the formation of a single transitional government there as an important step, the Kremlin said.
The parties also noted that the situation in Syria has continued to stabilise and that the issues of providing the Syrian people with humanitarian assistance were now very acute. Moscow has recently said that a lack of political will to settle the Syrian crisis head-on is hampering efforts to return Syrian refugees to their homes. The Russian military has also said that militants operating in Syria have been preventing civilians from leaving through humanitarian corridors, and humanitarian aid does not reach the people there.
According to the Kremlin, the leaders also spoke in favor of preserving and implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program.
The new US administration has vowed to revive the 2015 agreement but has failed to make the first conciliatory move. Iran has insisted that since Washington was one that abandoned the deal under the Trump administration in 2018, the US must first lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Tehran has also rejected any efforts to renegotiate the original agreement.
The talks were held in a businesslike and frank atmosphere, it was agreed to continue work on the entire current agenda, the Kremlin added.
The relations between Moscow and the EU have become strained after the latter had sanctioned Russia’s Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov, Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin, Federal Penitentiary Service head Alexander Kalashnikov and National Guard chief Viktor Zolotov over the situation with Russian vlogger e Alexey Navalny.
In a coordinated move hours later, the US imposed sanctions on seven senior Russian officials.
Navalny returned to Moscow from Germany in January after treatment for alleged poisoning and was arrested upon arrival at Sheremetyevo International Airport. Shortly after, a Moscow court rescinded Navalny’s suspended sentence in the 2014 Yves Rocher fraud case over multiple probation breaches and replaced it with a 3.5-year prison term.
Even before the sanctions were officially unveiled, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the relations with the EU were at a low point. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, in turn, described the bilateral relationship as being at a “standstill” during his Moscow visit in early February.