Former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher pleads for reset in Western relations with Russia
BERLIN, November 9 (TASS) - A patriarch of Germany diplomacy, former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher says the relations between the West and Russia should be re-loaded.
He said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag: “Many in the West must be sharing the opinion that after falling of the Berlin wall the border between the East and the West, which used to be in Berlin, moved now closer to the Russian border. Anyway, Russia was and is a country of Eastern Europe, not Western Asia, and it is still a super state.”
“There are two dominating nuclear countries in the world, which guarantee stability.”
“Thus, I can realise why Moscow insists on an equal dialogue,” he said. “Besides, we and Russians are connected by cooperation in settlement of major international conflicts, like for example in the Middle East. With the new threat from the Islamic State, we should realise clearly that common interests (of the West) with Russia are much more important than the disputes, for example the one around the conflict in Ukraine.”
“This is why I am for a new beginning in relations with the Russian Federation,” he said. “We are speaking here about organisation of a stable multi-polar world.”
The European Union has made a mistake in relations with Russia, he continued.
“(President Vladimir) Putin in his speech at bundestag (on September 25, 2001) spoke for organisation of the European free trade area. If the EU had followed his words, Moscow, in my opinion, would have reacted differently on Ukraine’s membership in the EU,” Hans-Dietrich Genscher said.
“The relations between the EU and Ukraine depend on development of relations between the EU and Russia,” he said. The European Union should reiterate organisation of a free trade area. “Another big mistake is lack of use of the NATO-Russia Council, which has been organised precisely for crisis periods,” Genscher said.