“Speak Russian — they say one thing, Ukrainians — more”
The head of the Swedish foreign Ministry told “Kommersant” about the outcome of his visit to Moscow.
Moscow on Tuesday was attended by the Minister for foreign Affairs of Sweden MARGOT WALLSTRÖM. After talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, she explained to the correspondent of “Kommersant” GALINA DUDINA, why not consider the EU’s relations with Russia “frozen,” but it will not accept the invitation to the Crimea.
— Your meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov mentioned that the bilateral relations between Russia and Sweden almost frozen. Do you think during the visit they managed to unfreeze?
— I would not call the relationship a “frozen”. We Minister Lavrov met under different circumstances. I think the fact of the meeting, like the one I just got is good. After all, a lot has happened since, as the European Union has established a policy of no contacts at the highest political level.
Since then the situation has changed — including in the EU. And now, for example, we work together in the UN security Council.
There are a number of conflict issues and situations that require us to work together.
Of course, much has changed from the point of view of the situation in Ukraine, the Crimean question, the work of the Arctic Council, cooperation in the Barents region and so on.
— Sergei Lavrov publicly asked you and your compatriots in the Crimea. Go?
— No. Of course not. We will not recognize illegal annexation by Russia of Ukraine. That is one of the reasons why the sanctions regime is maintained. And I think Sergei Lavrov knows it.
— Both Russia and the EU formally support the implementation of the Minsk agreements on settling the situation in Eastern Ukraine. But do you see any contradiction in the fact that the lifting of sanctions thus tied to the full implementation of the agreements and, thus, dependent on Kyiv?
Both sides are now looking for a scapegoat: speak Russian — they say one thing, Ukrainians — more. Both are accusing each other of reneging on the Minsk agreements.Margot Alstremeria foreign Affairs of Sweden
— It is clear that our sanctions linked to how you perform in Minsk agreement. Preconditions for lifting the sanctions is very clear.
But if the Ukrainian side will impede their performance?
— Then you have to exert pressure — but on both sides. And Ukrainians, and Russian. Because in this story there is an element of political will. Need to want peace, want to stop the violence and to move forward.
— In Russia there are about 400 Swedish companies and we are talking in the office the most popular of them — “IKEA”. Don’t you think that a judicial investigation in relation to “IKEA” politically motivated? Have you discussed this with Sergey Lavrov?
— The question was mentioned. But we have no information that would indicate it. On the contrary, the government has shown itself in a constructive way in relation to “IKEA”. So it’s a question separated from politics.
— The authorities of our neighbour, Finland, does not exclude an Arctic summit. And the Stockholm initiative of the organization of the summit of the Council of the Baltic sea States (CBSS), the Chairman of which is now Sweden? The summits of the CBSS was not performed since the cancellation of the summit in 2014.
— We are in the process of considering possible forms and script meetings. And I think we are open to such things if they make sense, if there is a mutual understanding on the agenda.
— That is, right?
— I do not exclude anything. And now I can say: if a meeting makes sense, you have to meet. Because we believe in multilateral cooperation. And then we have to see what will be included in the agenda to the meeting had some effect.