OREANDA-NEWS. October 31, 2008. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov paid a working visit to the Netherlands on October 30. He held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen and met with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in The Hague. The Minister also visited the new exhibition complex Hermitage on the Amstel, a branch of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg (Russia), whose official opening will take place in 2009.

In the course of the conversation satisfaction was expressed both with the state and with the pace of development of bilateral relations, including in the field of economic cooperation between Russia and the Netherlands. That country has become one of the leading trade and economic partners of Russia. The sides spoke in favor of the further diversification of economic ties and realization of large-scale projects in the energy and innovation spheres. It was noted that there are no problems in Russia-Netherland relations which would hinder their further onward development.

A broad spectrum of topical international themes was touched on. An exchange of views took place on Russian relations with the European Union and NATO, UN reform, and cooperation within the framework of the OSCE. The ministers discussed the situation surrounding Iran, in Afghanistan, the Balkans and the Caucasus. The exchange of views has shown a sufficiently high degree of similarity of Russia and the Netherlands’ approaches to a number of international problems and their readiness for dialogue where the positions of the sides differ or do not coincide.

The talks have confirmed that the Russia-Netherlands partnership, evolving on the basis of the Joint Action Program 2008-2010, signed in The Hague on April 29, 2008, has become a substantial factor in European politics and makes its contribution to the process of the promotion of mutual understanding, trust and stability on the European continent.