Russia affirms priority for ties with ASEAN hinh anh 1Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Developing ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is among priorities in Russia's foreign policy towards Asia-Pacific, affirmed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on July 6 during his ongoing visit to Indonesia.

The potential of economic cooperation is far from fully realised, he added.

Speaking to the Indonesian newspaper, Rakyat Merdeka, Lavrov said that Russia consistently supports the strengthening of ASEAN’s central role in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Russia will support ASEAN at international forums and take an active part in the activities of ASEAN-centric associations, such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Security Forum, and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus with the Dialogue Partners. 

The Russian minister said that bolstering cooperation between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will create a momentum for the Russia-ASEAN trade relations, which have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. 

However, a growth trend has reappeared this year, he added, voicing a belief that promotion of cooperation with the EAEU will allow Russia and ASEAN to make it more dynamic. 

Two ASEAN members of Vietnam and Singapore have already signed free trade agreements with the EAEU and Indonesia has started working on it.

The top Russian diplomat expressed his hope that a special ministerial conference between Russia and ASEAN held in Indonesia will make an important contribution to the expansion of the Russia-ASEAN dialogue./.