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EU views Russia as important global actor, biggest neighbor — foreign policy chief

Russia is the European Union’s biggest neighbor and an important international actor, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said in his address to the European Parliament on Tuesday.

“In any case Russia remains our largest neighbour and it remains an important global actor,” he said. “Russia will not disappear. It will be there and this will not change overnight.”

Borrell suggested looking into the possibility of gradually changing relations in order to make them more predictable and stable.

He also called for cooperation with Russia on certain security issues.

Borrell went on to say that “I have to recognize that Russia is playing a constructive role” in selected issues of foreign and security policy and in “multilateral issues like the JCPOA” (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program).

At the same time, the EU top diplomat claimed that Russia “wants to divide us.”

“In front of any attempt to divide us, what we have to do is try to remain united, which is – believe me – not always easy,” Borrell went on. “So our collective ambition is not only to have a less conflictual relationship [with Russia], but also to continue defending the people like Mr [Alexey] Navalny.”

“I would like to think of a renewed partnership with Russia, but today it is a distant prospect,” he added.

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