EU seeking better ties with Turkey, Russia: Borrell

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – The European Union needs to improve its relations with Turkey and Russia, the bloc’s top diplomat said Thursday.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell remarks followed an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Croatia's capital Zagreb.

"Turkey and Russia were on our agenda. Our relations with these two countries are difficult, but we have to improve them,” Borrell said.

“We have been accumulating difficulties and we have to start a new approach to overcome those difficulties. We have to increase our engagement on selective issues in which we have to have a good partnership with Russia: energy, climate change, the Arctic, Russia’s engagement in Syria and Libya, playing important roles that affect our security.”

Borrell said the EU needs to talk with Turkey about both the crisis in Idlib and Libya.

"In Turkey, the situation is strongly linked to the crisis in Idlib. [We are] at the beginning of a migration crisis, the consequences of the Turks letting people go, making [them] maybe believe that the borders of Europe were open.

“We have to defend our borders. We have to reconcile respect for the human rights of migrants with the fact that our borders cannot be violated, people cannot cross the borders illegally. At the same time, we have to talk with the Turks about many issues that directly affect our security because Turkey is also playing an important role in the Libyan crisis," he said.

Zagreb on Friday will host the extraordinary session of the Foreign Affairs Council. The meeting will be chaired by Borrell.