Paris postponed the joint session of foreign ministers and defense ministers of France and Russia for an indefinite period (format “2 + 2”). The official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France Agnès von der Mule informed about it referring to “current circumstances”. It was decided to postpone the meeting of the French-Russian Security Cooperation Council, she said at a press conference.
The French Foreign Ministry did not give details about the reason for postponing the bilateral meeting but pointed out that there was a dialogue with the Russian side on this issue. Thus, the foreign ministry of the Western European country tried to distance itself from begging suggestions that Paris had taken a démarche with regard to Moscow, following “pan-European solidarity.
The ministerial session between Russia and France was scheduled for September 14. The French side had not yet proposed new date.
Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out that the European Union should develop a common response to the “poisoning” of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny.
The head of the Bundestag Committee on Foreign Policy, Norbert Röttgen, argued that Germany and France should stop “acting alone” in their relations with Russia. Commenting on a discussion of possible EU sanctions against Russia after the Navalny incident, he said a unified European strategy for Russia can only emerge if Germany and France give up their “sole efforts” in this direction. However, Röttgen believes that France should no longer rely on a bilateral strategic partnership with Russia and that Germany, which had previously approved the Nord Stream-2 project, should abandon it.
As EADaily reported, the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Bundeswehr in Munich, which had previously allegedly discovered traces of a toxic substance from the “Beginner” group in Alexei Navalny’s biomaterial samples, cannot pass the information on the research to a third party for reasons of “secrecy. The official representative of the Medical-Sanitary Service of German Armed Forces told about it last Monday, September 7. “Additional information about research results may allow drawing conclusions about specific skills and knowledge of Bundeswehr with regard to relevant substances. In such a sensitive area, this is unacceptable for security reasons and in the interests of Germany,” the service explained in response to a question as to whether the Bundeswehr would pass on information about Navalny research at the request of Russian authorities.
On September 8, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, asked a question about the secrecy of the information exchange between the Charite clinic, the Bundeswehr laboratory, the British Porton Down laboratory, and Bulgarian specialized institutions.
“This is too serious to allow German officials to keep everything in themselves. We expect Berlin to provide all available data: both the results of laboratory studies of the Bundeswehr and some “certificates” possessed by the German Foreign Ministry. We are waiting for the German Ambassador in Smolensk. It’s time to open the cards because it is obvious to everyone: Berlin is bluffing, serving the dirty political chatter,” – said Zakharova.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on September 2 that she considered Navalny “a victim of an attack with the help of chemical nerve agent from the group “Novichok”. In turn, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that the Kremlin saw no reason to accuse the Russian state of the incident with Navalny.