23:00 GMT +320 May 2018
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    Belgian Ex-Minister Calls EU's Self-Isolation From Russia a Geopolitical Mistake

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    Western countries make a big geopolitical mistake by self-isolating from Russia, Belgium's former Foreign Minister Louis Michel said Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Both the European Union and the United States make a big geopolitical mistake by self-isolating from Russia, Michel said.

    "I believe that the international community, should it be the United States, though to a lesser extent than the Europeans, we make a serious mistake, a geopolitical mistake, by self-isolating from Russia," Michel said in an interview with the RTL television network.

    He highlighted that the West should review its policy toward Russia to make it "a privileged partner" of the Western states.

    "Russia is a European country. And I think it would be important to have a kind of special and rather close partnership with Russia," Michel said.

    According to Michel, the decision of US President Barack Obama to expel Russian diplomats revealed his real stance toward Russia.

    In late December 2016, Obama's administration ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds and new sanctions against six Russian individuals and five entities over Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 election.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said Obama’s punitive measures were provocations aimed at further undermining of US-Russian relations and announced later his decision not to expel US diplomats from Russia. US President-elect Donald Trump in a Twitter message praised Putin’s call as a "great move."

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