BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini discussed gas supply problems and the implementation of a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine in a 20-minute phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday.
Mogherini told reporters that they also discussed the Iranian nuclear dispute and how to encourage a diplomatic settlement to the conflict in Libya.
“We discussed how to solve the issue of gas supply at trilateral level,” Mogherini said, referring to Russia, Ukraine and the EU.
The European Commission said earlier it had invited the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers for talks in Brussels on Monday after Russia said it would halt gas supplies to Ukraine if it did not receive advance payment, raising the possibility of onward deliveries to Europe being disrupted.
“There will be a meeting on Monday. The Russian energy minister will participate. We agreed that if things go well, we could develop a bilateral dimension for energy talks between EU and Russia,” Mogherini said.
The EU and Russia have for years had an “energy dialogue” to discuss energy cooperation but there has been little effort to work together since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region last year, leading the EU to impose economic sanctions on Moscow.
On Libya, where the United Nations is trying to broker an agreement between warring groups, Mogherini said: “We agreed to give a chance to this last (diplomatic) attempt, and on how to support the possible follow-up to the dialogue, including with a resolution of the U.N. Security Council. So we can say that we have also the Russians on board.”
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Writing by Adrian Croft; Editing by Robin Emmott