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    Russian FM Lavrov: Common Goals Raise Hopes for Thaw With EU

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he hopes that the EU-Russian relationship will return to normal, given their shared economic and security priorities.

    "We hope that common sense will prevail and the Russian-EU relationship will get back to normal and will be governed by respect for each other's interests, considering that Russia and the EU have common goals – from stable growth to an effective fight against numerous security challenges", he told a Bulgarian publication, International Life.

    READ MORE: Salvini: Issue of Russia Sanctions Removal Unites 'All Decent People' in Europe

    Lavrov said years of tit-for-tat restrictions had cost EU companies billions of euros in lost revenues. He invited Europe to make the first step by scrapping the sanctions.

    "Then Russia will cancel its countermeasures. The ball is in the EU's court", the diplomat noted.

    The European Union has tied any normalisation of relations with Russia to the peace process in eastern Ukraine. Lavrov questioned Brussels' reasoning, saying it was obvious that Kiev had torpedoed all efforts to end the conflict.

    He noted that the European Union's stability was dependent on a bunch of EU functionaries who were openly hostile to and had tried to demonise Russia, painting it as Europe's main security threat.

    "Unfortunately, the well-being and stability of the European home depend on a small group of extremely aggressive Russophobes inside the EU who basically act on Washington's orders", Lavrov said.

    READ MORE: German Business Association: US Sanctions on Russia 'Huge Problem' for EU Firms

    There has been a revival in the political dialogue between Russia and Europe of late, the minister added. Moscow and Brussels have been cooperating on scientific and cultural projects, he said, meaning there are no objective reasons for the ties between the two neighbours to worsen.

    Ties between Russia and the European Union soured after a conflict broke out in Ukraine in 2014. The bloc imposed economic sanctions on Russia, who retaliated by banning a variety of EU food imports.

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    Sergei Lavrov, European Union, United States, Russia
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