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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, February 21, 2017

    Lavrov Expresses Hopes for Better Ties Between Russia and Sweden

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    Moscow's top diplomat expressed hopes for improving relations between Russia and Sweden. His counterpart noted the multifaceted nature of the bilateral ties.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope for the improvement of the relationship between Moscow and Stockholm, which is currently not at its best, at a Tuesday meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom.

    "I hope that this visit of yours will help overcome the less than optimal stage of the relationship of Russia and Sweden and will help outline further steps toward the restoration of very promising and mutually beneficial ties, which are in the interests of our countries and peoples," Lavrov said.

    Wallstrom noted that Moscow and Stockholm's relations had a long history and broad range.

    "[This relationship] is more than diplomatic relations and official meetings. We have expansive ties between the two peoples, various student exchanges, cooperation between twin cities, ties between the representatives of civil society. I hope that we can discuss all of these issues today frankly, honestly and constructively," Wallstrom said.

    "We do have topics for discussion starting with our joint work within the UN Security Council and including the issues of European security, Ukraine, sensitive issues of the Baltic region, the ISIS [Daesh, outlawed in Russia], and our bilateral relations," she said.

    Wallstrom noted that the Swedish-Russian ties had a long history and expressed hope that talks with Lavrov would be held in the atmosphere of "honesty and constructiveness."

    "Bilateral relations between Sweden and Russia have very deep historical roots and a wide spectrum. They go beyond the framework of our diplomatic relations and official meetings. I hope that we will manage to discuss all these issues today in the spirit of frankness, honesty and constructiveness," Wallstrom added.

    Swedish Foreign Minister Wallstrom is currently in Moscow with an official visit.

    At the beginning of the meeting, the two ministers honored the memory of Russia's Permanent Envoy to UN Vitaly Churkin, who passed away in New York on Monday, a day before his 65th birthday, with a minute of silence.


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