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EU agrees to resume partnership talks with Russia

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-10

Despite concerns over Russia's military presence in Georgia, the foreign ministers of the European Union have agreed to unfreeze partnership talks with Russia, its major energy supplier.

BRUSSELS - The European Union said on Monday it was
ready to restart stalled talks with Russia on a partnership
agreement despite lingering concerns over the presence of
Russian troops in Georgia.


EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner
said a new round of negotiations could be scheduled after a
long-planned EU-Russia summit on Friday and a subsequent
Nov. 18 meeting in Geneva on the conflict.


"The (EU) presidency statement clearly backs the position of
the (European) Commission that we must go on with our
negotiations," Ferrero-Waldner told a news briefing after EU
foreign ministers met on the matter in Brussels.


French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said 26 of the 27
EU states had backed the restart of talks with Russia. Lithuania
had before the meeting made clear it opposed the relaunch of
talks but that EU rules meant it was unable to veto them.


The EU postponed talks on the wide-ranging political and
economic pact after Russia's August incursion into Georgia.


Earlier, EU officials stressed that the decision to restart
would not mean EU-Russia ties were back to "business as usual",
noting concerns as to whether Russia had fully implemented the
terms of a French-brokered peace deal that ended the conflict
over Georgia's South Ossetia region.

Date created : 2008-11-10