Russia invites all Eurasian countries to take part in the "Greater Eurasia" project, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Thursday after his participation in the events of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), TASS reports.
"The Greater Eurasia project is more of a goal, and we invite all countries located on this vast geopolitical space to determine ways to achieve it," he said. "It is extremely important to understand that the great Eurasian partnership is not something that one has to join, nor a pre-arranged project that was coordinated in a narrow circle, while the others kept saying, ‘These are the terms under which we will cooperate with you.’ Nothing of the kind."
Lavrov reiterated that at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi in May 2016 Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the partners to look into the vast geopolitical and geo-economic picture of Eurasia, supplemented with the island states which are already involved in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and ASEAN. "So, his proposal was to search for some natural forms of cooperation which would respond to the current and future needs of each of these associations and each of their participants," the minister said. "It caused the first moves: memorandums of cooperation between the SCO and ASEAN secretariats were signed, a road map of developing this cooperation in specific areas is being developed; an agreement between the EAEU and the People’s Republic of China and an agreement between Russia and China to promote such multilateral trends in our bilateral contacts are also being prepared."
The Russian foreign minister called for keeping in mind that the European Union is located in the Eurasian space. "When we are talking about improving cooperation between the EAEU, SCO and ASEAN, we always stress that the doors are open for the European Union if it shows interest in it," Lavrov stressed. "And, to my mind, no one doubts that the EU should have interest in it, taking into account purely pragmatic economic and business interests."
A meeting of the ASEAN foreign ministers and the ministerial consultations Russia - ASEAN, Japan - ASEAN, China - ASEAN are taking place in Singapore on Thursday. On Saturday, a ministerial meeting of the member states of the East Asia Summit will be held, which will involve 10 ASEAN member states, as well as Russia, Australia, India, China, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the US and Japan. On the same day a session of the ASEAN Regional Forum on security will take place and will be attended by the North Korean foreign minister.