I met with Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow on 2 July. Agenda items for our consultations included our bilateral political and economic relations, as well as a range of regional and international issues such as the situation in Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the Middle East Peace Process, Iran, non-proliferation, the Council of Europe, human rights, cyber-security, disinformation, and Brexit.
Ireland supports the EU strategy of maintaining dialogue with Russia on issues of mutual interest. Ongoing engagement with Russia bilaterally and in multilateral fora such as the UN, Council of Europe, OSCE and through EU-Russia dialogue on key global challenges as well as regional conflicts is critical, especially where it can contribute to a relationship with a Russia that is underpinned by a commitment to the rule of law and international standards.
We discussed the outcome of the 12th Plenary Session of the Ireland-Russia Joint Economic Commission, held in Moscow on 10 April 2019. The JEC is a bilateral Government to Government entity which promotes economic and trade activity between the two countries within six working groups comprising of Education and Training; ICT/High Technology; Agriculture and Food; Energy and Renewable Energy; Aviation and Transport, and Trade and Economic Cooperation. The Irish delegation in April was led by Minister of State Cannon and included officials from the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Education and Skills; Business, Enterprise and Innovation, along with Enterprise Ireland and Sustainable Food Systems Ireland. At my meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov we noted the encouraging economic growth in our bilateral trade, which rose by more than 30% in 2018, and the prospects for further development of bilateral trade in education services, agriculture, transport, innovation and the digital economy.