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27 Jun, 2008 04:25

Russia and EU seek to end deadlock on bilateral ties

Russia and the European Union have started negotiations towards an ambitious new strategic pact covering trade, energy and security. Talks had been blocked for more than a year by some EU members because of their bilateral disagreements with Russia. Russi

“We would like to move forward in order to add a fresh impetus to our relations,” Medvedev said opening the summit on Friday.

Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, echoed Medvedev's speech.

“Our trading and economic relations are healthy. The trade turnover is expanding year on year. Yet I am convinced there is a lot of potential on the trade side and that we must do more to find solutions to some of the obstacles that continue to hinder further expansion of our trade ties,” he said.

Medvedev also welcomed the fact that the EU had managed to overcome internal divides and were now able to begin talks on a new basic agreement with Russia.

“The Khanty-Mansiisk summit is a good chance to continue the dialogue on strategic relationships between Russian and the EU,” said Medvedev.

A new agreement represents an opportunity to update the legal framework of the EU-Russia relationship as the first Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) signed in the early 1990s no longer corresponds to the current economic and political situation.

Other pressing global problems such as instability of the world financial system and the food crisis will also be discussed.

Russia also plans to raise the sensitive issue of Russians living in the Baltic States, as well as the issue of visas.

European security cooperation will also be on the agenda.

It is the first EU summit for the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev.