Russia, Netherlands Not Engaged In Secret Gas Talks, But Cooperation Underway - Ambassador

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Russia, Netherlands Not Engaged in Secret Gas Talks, But Cooperation Underway - Ambassador

THE HAGUE (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 30th July, 2021) Russia and the Netherlands are not holding secret negotiations on gas, but cooperation in the energy sector is underway and large projects are being pursued, Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Alexander Shulgin, told Sputnik.

In March, the Dutch news portal for investigative journalism, Follow the Money, alleged that the Netherlands is secretly continuing negotiations with Russia on gas, even though diplomatic relations and energy cooperation between the countries were frozen after a plane crash in eastern Ukraine in 2014. According to the newspaper, in 2017 the Russian-Dutch working group on energy resumed its activities.

"I do not think it is worth taking everything that is written on the internet at face value. Secret diplomacy, as you know, has long sunk into oblivion. We are talking about normal interaction within another working group of the bilateral commission on economic cooperation. No one ever concealed its existence, agenda, and the fact of holding the next meeting in February 2020. The issues of the development of renewable energy, the factor of climate change, and much more other topics were discussed, among other things,'" Shulgin said, commenting on the publication.

Different forms of fuel are one of the main categories of bilateral exports and imports, he added.

"I will say more, major projects are being implemented not only for the production or liquefaction of gas but also in the field of renewable energy sources," the ambassador said.

Speaking of the Russian-Dutch working groups, the diplomat said there are five on energy, health, agriculture, transport, and innovation.

"We assess their activities very positively. Nevertheless, we have to admit that there has long been a lack of meeting of the Joint Economic Committee itself, that is, a large intergovernmental forum, within which the entire range of topical issues of economic cooperation could be discussed. Unfortunately, the last time such a full-scale meeting was held was at the end of 2013," Shulgin said, adding that in this context the Netherlands is the one to decide.

Diplomatic and trade relations between Russia and the Netherlands have been frozen since 2014 following the crash of flight MH17 over Ukraine. The disaster claimed the lives of 298 people, the majority of whom were Dutch nationals. The Netherlands, which believes that MH17 was brought down by a missile system which belonged to a Russian air defense missile brigade based near the city of Kursk, ceased its annual consultations on joint economic interests with Russia. This, in turn, led to the termination of regular government consultations on energy projects. Russia has repeatedly denied having a role in the disaster.