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15 Oct, 2008 21:49

Berlusconi wants Russia to join EU

European leaders meeting in Brussels have postponed talks on a new Russia-EU partnership agreement. The issue is now expected to be shelved until November 14, when a summit between Russia and Europe is held in Nice. In a surprise move, Italy’s Silvio Ber

The old partnership agreement expired at the end of last year. Talks on the deal were frozen by the EU on September 1 as a result of the brief war between Russia and Georgia.

Some nations still seem keen to keep Moscow on the back burner.

David Miliband, British Foreign Secretary said: “In due course we can discuss the partnership and cooperation agreement. I don't think today is the day to restart that.”

However, France, Germany and Italy are promoting a speedy relaunch of the talks after Russia complied with the ceasefire deal to withdraw its troops from security zones in Georgia.

French President Nikolas Sarkozy said the question was briefly touched upon during a working dinner.

“Of course, nothing is ideal but look at what has already been achieved: in less than two months there has been a ceasefire, the pullout of Russian troops and the talks on the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have already started. We should have a frank, open and friendly dialogue with Russia, especially in the context of our energy security.”  

Italian Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi went a step further.

“I feel that Russia is a Western nation. My project is that, in the coming years, the Russian Federation can become a member of the EU,” he said.