EU-Russia bilateral talks will re-open: French FM

The European Union will re-start talks with Russia on a bilateral partnership agreement, according to French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. His statement was made at a joint press-conference in Moscow.

The previous partnership and cooperation agreement between the 27-nation union and Russia expired last December.

The start of negotiations was blocked by Poland over Russia's ban on meat products, and by Lithuania over oil supplies to the country's refineries. Both have now agreed to lift their objections.

The visit of the French politician comes a month before his country takes over revolving presidency of the European Union.

The main aim of the visit is outlining the country's vision of EU priorities for the Russian government.

Bernard Kouchner also met the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Kouchner said he hoped Medvedev would visit France soon not just for diplomatic matters but because a genuine friendship exists between the countries.