Foreign minister Blok to visit Moscow

Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on 13 April in Moscow, in an effort to keep lines of communication open with Russia.

‘Even in tough times, we have to keep talking,’ said Mr Blok. He is particularly resolved to pursue dialogue with Russia now, when the EU’s relations with Russia are difficult. ‘My top priority is a secure, stable Netherlands in a secure, stable Europe,’ in the minister’s own words. ‘Russia has an impact on this. The world has seen this in recent weeks. So I need to speak face to face with my Russian colleague, to clearly convey the full depth of our concerns. This is why it’s important for me to go to Moscow now.’

Mr Blok’s meeting with the Russian foreign minister also serves the interests of wider Dutch-Russian ties. It will give him the opportunity to present the Netherlands’ position on such subjects as the downing of flight MH17 and Russia’s role in Ukraine and Syria. Economic affairs, human rights and cooperation in the UN Security Council will also be on the agenda.