The Swedish Foreign Minister currently chairs the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), of which Russia is also a member.
– We have very good relations when it comes to trade, but when it comes to political issues, we have big differences in our view of development, says Secretary of State Ann Linde to SVT News about relations with Russia.
“Changes have occurred”
One of the topics discussed in the talks was the migrant crisis in Belarus, which Linde described as a “mixed attack”.
– We can say that there have been changes in the past 24 hours as Minsk transported migrants to hangar-like buildings. You’ve been very clear that we see this as a hybrid attack on the EU – they want to change EU policy by regulating migrants to the external borders, she says.
– In some of my conversations, they discussed what was happening in Turkey and Italy and between Great Britain and France, and compared this to Belarus. Then of course I can say it has nothing to do with each other. This is a coordinated movement of people to change political behaviour.
When Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was asked what she is ready to do to improve political relations with democracies in the West, he answered as follows:
We do not intend to turn a blind eye to the very serious provocations that we see daily from NATO countries and increasingly from the European Union. Among other things, the European Union is trying to pretend to be military in Ukraine. We are always open to dialogue, but only on the basis of equality, mutual respect and the search for a balance of interests.
Harassment against a human rights organization
Osei also this week criticized Russia for “harassment” in its attempts to shut down the well-established Russian human rights organization Memorial. Ann Lind met with the organization Thursday evening.
– You have expressed our full support for their very important work. In my meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, I mentioned that it is very important that volunteer organizations such as Memorial can continue to operate without restrictions, she says.
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