03:13 GMT09 August 2020
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    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s attendance of the upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is a sign that the EU is ready to begin dialogue with Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Peskov said, however, that Juncker’s visit to St. Petersburg would not mean an immediate thaw in relations as time is needed to rebuild trust.

    “Yes, Mr. Juncker’s arrival is expected and we’re preparing for this. Overall the issue of relations between Russia and the European Union is extremely important for the Russian Federation. [Relations] aren’t currently at their best,” Peskov told journalists.

    “Regardless of the common decision being made in Brussels, we see that many European countries on the bilateral level are still demonstrating their interest in improving relations and expanding cooperation with Russia in order to compensate for what was lost over the last two years,” Peskov said.

    Peskov said Juncker’s visit should not be perceived by Moscow as overly optimistic, though it is a start.

    “I probably wouldn’t give an abundance of optimism or look into each step for a sign of a breakthrough. Obviously, the downhill slide to rhetoric of sanctions and the downhill slide to refusing dialogue and cooperation along many parameters obviously have their negative consequences, and these consequences cannot be gotten rid of in an hour,” Peskov said.

    Russia’s relations with the European Union will be discussed during a special session at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum (SPIEF) organized by the Valdai discussion club.

    The SPIEF is an international economic and business event, which attracts politicians, entrepreneurs, scientists and media from all over the world to discuss the most significant issues for Russia and the global community. The next SPIEF forum is scheduled for June 16-18.


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