Thursday, January 22, 2009

Third round of talks on new Russia-EU deal set for Feb. 13

The third round of negotiations on a new Russia-EU cooperation agreement will take place in Brussels on February 13, Russia's EU envoy said on Wednesday.
Vladimir Chizhov said working groups were already meeting ahead of the talks.
The agreement would replace the 1997 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which was extended for a year when it expired in December 2007. Talks on a new deal have been repeatedly delayed, initially by Poland and Lithuania and most recently over Russia's August conflict with Georgia over South Ossetia.
A decision to resume the negotiations was made at the Russia-EU summit in Nice on November 14, despite objections from Lithuania.
Moscow earlier said that some EU members had tried to use the treaty issue to pressure Russia.
Russia meets a sizable share of Europe's energy needs, making many countries uneasy about dependence on Kremlin-controlled supplies. For its part, Russia has been hard hit by the global credit crunch and falling oil prices, and needs buyers for its natural resources.

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