Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov appreciates honesty and we have had a good, constructive relationship for years, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Munich on Saturday, two days after she said that Russia was interfering in the integration of Southeast European countries with Euro-Atlantic associations.  

Speaking at a conference on the Balkans in Munich this past Thursday, Grabar-Kitarovic said that the interference of some countries, particularly Russia, was a threat to the integration of Southeast European countries into the EU and NATO.

Commenting on her meeting with Lavrov on the margins of a security conference in Munich on Saturday, the Croatian president described it as "very positive and cordial."

"Mr Lavrov appreciates honesty, we have had a good, constructive relationship for years, we have always been sincere to one another," she told reporters.

Asked if Lavrov had taken exception to her statement about Russia's meddling into neighbouring countries' internal affairs, she said that her position on Russia had always been the same, that it was a country with influence in that part of Europe, "as evidenced, among other things, by investments and economic activity."

"I expect the constructive dialogue and mutual respect to continue," she stressed.

She said that she and the Russian foreign minister agreed on measures to be taken to solve the problem of air pollution caused by the Russian-owned oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, a town on the Sava River in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina bordering on Croatia, as well as difficulties encountered by some Croatian companies on the Russian market.

Russia recently rescinded and then restored export licences of some Croatian food companies that had not been exporting to Russia for a period of 18 to 36 months due to EU sanctions against Russia.

Grabar-Kitarovic talked also briefly with US Vice-President Mike Pence.

We exchanged a few short, constructive sentences, said Grabar-Kitarovic, who is expected to meet with some members of the US Congress on Sunday. She also met several eastern European officials.

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