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29 Apr, 2008 00:29

Better late than never - Russia and EU ready for new partnership

According to officials from both sides, Russia and the European Union may soon start negotiations on a new partnership and co-operation agreement. The issue is due to be discussed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday. Russia's For

The previous agreement expired last December and talks to sign a new one were delayed because of differences between Russia and Poland. Warsaw vetoed the negotiations in response to a Russian ban on imports of Polish agricultural produce.

Now the dispute has been resolved, only Lithuania says it might block the talks because of Russia's position regarding energy security and the breakaway republics in Georgia and Moldova.

Foreign Minister Lavrov, though, is optimistic these hurdles will be overcome.

“We are hearing from the European Union that they’re clearing up the last of the problems preventing them from starting negotiations on a new Russia-EU partnership and co-operation agreement. We are prepared for such talks – as in fact we were one and a half years ago. If what our colleagues from the EU are suggesting does happen, we could get down to it in the near future,” he said.