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EU and Russia agree on new talks

Solana, Lavrov (eu2008.si)

After eighteen months of standstill, EU and Russia are again ready for talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement. EU representatives yesterday finally agreed on the necessary negotiating positions.

The European Union reached an agreement today at the level of ambassadors (COREPER) on negotiating positions for the new partnership and cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation, which has to be endorsed by the foreign ministers at the GAERC meeting in Brussels on Monday”, Europa.eu reports.

Several EU members have over the last two years blocked negotiations over a new agreement with Russia. Lately, Lituania has been the one deadlocking talks because of its dispute with Russia over export of oil.

“The new agreement we want to strike with Russia will shape Russian-EU relations for the 21st century,” said Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for the Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief. “It will replace what we currently have in place, which was the first agreement between the EU and Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.”

Coming at the start of the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev in Russia, the negotiation will be a test of whether or not the relationship between Europe and Moscow can improve after years of combative rhetoric from his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, who remains a powerful force as prime minister, the International Herald reports.