MOSCOW, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Russia hopes to restore relations with the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published Thursday.
"We hope that common sense will eventually prevail and the Russian-EU relations will return to normal and be distinguished by respect and consideration of each other's interests," Lavrov told the Bulgarian journal International Relations.
According to the interview published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website, Lavrov noted that the current relations between Moscow and Brussels are passing through hard times.
Russia's trade with the EU grew for a second year in a row, up by 19.3 percent in 2018 to 294.2 billion U.S. dollars, Lavrov said, despite that the EU's anti-Russian propaganda and attempts to demonize Russia continue and its unilateral sanctions were regularly extended.
There has also been some recovery in political dialogue, interaction on some industrial issues, and more contacts in the scientific, technological and cultural fields, he said.
As for the Russian-NATO relations, Lavrov said that they are in a phase of "protracted crisis."
He said that NATO turned out to be unprepared for joint efforts to form equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic architecture, but the Russian-NATO dialogue may still return to a constructive course.
To do this, NATO partners should strictly observe their commitments on not strengthening their security at the expense of others, he said.
Russia, for its part, is always open to working together to counter international terrorism, drug trafficking, cyber crimes and other threats of the modern era, Lavrov added.