Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday afternoon at his Novo-Ogariovo residence. Putin stressed the historic ties that link the two countries. “This year marks 165 years of diplomatic relations between Russia and Belgium,” he said.
Recalling that a mixed commission between the Belgium-Luxemburg Economic Union and Russia is scheduled to meet in Sotchi on the 14th of February, Putin welcomed the visit to Russia by the Belgian Prime Minister. “I’m convinced that your visit will benefit the economies of our two countries,” he said.
For his part, Michel called for open dialogue. “We shall have the opportunity to discuss various issues together so as to arrive at a better understanding of each other,” he said. “In this perspective of dialogue, it’s important to discuss issues of common interest, such as security, the fight against terrorism and the situation in the south of the European Union,” the Belgian leader stressed. “The history of relations between Belgium and Russia is made of ups and downs, but we shall remain, first of all, neighbours,” he added.
Charles Michel also said he wished to discuss possible new partnerships, especially economic ones, with the head of the Kremlin.
Also attending the meeting were Russian Foreign Minister Sergueï Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Ragozine, and Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov.
Novo-Ogariovo, a vast property 30km west of Moscow, is the daily residence of the Russian president. It is kept under close surveillance by the Russian Federation’s federal protection service.