Interview with Fyodor Lukyanov
Russia Today: How important is this meeting and are there any indications that some progress will be reached on such a burning issue as Kosovo?
Fyodor Lukyanov: This meeting is quite important because actually it should be the last meeting of President Putin talking to European leaders. At the same time, it is a very strange meeting because for the first time in the history of Russia-EU relations there are no expectations for any breakthroughs, no documents to be signed – nothing, because relations between Russia and the EU now are in quite a complicated condition. We have very extended trade, we have very good practical interaction, but politically Russia has changed, the EU has changed, and so far there is no understanding of how to communicate with each other in the new situation.
As for Kosovo, I don't expect any kind of moves, because it is not up to Russia and not up to the EU to solve this question, it is up to the Albanians and Serbs. Mr Putin said yesterday that the only thing we need is patience. At the same time, I’m afraid that quite soon we'll see that negotiations will fail. And after that it will be a very complicated situation for the EU because it will be really a big problem for the EU to recognise the unilateral independence of Kosovo – having such a country like Cyprus for example which is divided – they can’t do it. They can’t recognise Kosovo without complications.
RT: Another important issue for Moscow is the Russia-EU co-operation treaty, have we got any closer to signing the treaty and what are the obstacles?
F.L.: Not at all, now both sides agree that there is no sense in trying to start negotiations now. The current document, the current partnership at co-operation agreement will be extended for another year. Maybe we can start more talks on the treaty in the second half of next year, when France takes the EU Presidency. Mr Sarkozy is very active and very interested in relations with Russia. So, maybe at that time we can start this story again. For the time being the formal barrier is the ‘Polish veto’. Poland is trying to remove the Russian embargo on Polish meat, but basically it is not so important. This is a technical problem and can be solved easily. The main problem now is, as I said earlier, the lack of understanding of what we want from this treaty and the new document, and how Russia and the EU will see each other – and so far there is no progress in that.