Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/russia : Vilnius Lifts Veto on Partnership Talks

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/russia : Vilnius Lifts Veto on Partnership Talks

Article excerpt

An agreement has been reached to respond to Lithuania's concerns with regard to the future EU-Russia partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) and Vilnius will now lift its veto on the opening of negotiations. The mandate for negotiation will be confirmed by the EU's External Relations Council, on 26 May. EU-Russia negotiations could then start at the end of June, during a summit attended for the first time by the new Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev. "

An agreement in principle has been reached concerning Lithuania's proposals," affirms a declaration by the foreign ministers of Sweden, Poland, Lithuania and Slovenia, meeting in Vilnius on 11 May to deal with the issue, as well as the Georgian-Russian crisis, prior to leaving for Tbilisi the following day. "We have found ways to reflect in the mandate of the talks the issues of the Druzhba pipeline, issues of legal cooperation with Russia, and frozen conflicts," aconditions imposed by Vilnius in order for an agreement to be reached.

In a press release, Slovenian Minister Dimitrij Rupel notes that "The Slovenian Presidency understands the issues Lithuania faces and is aware that its citizens still carry a certain historical burden". The draft mandate for negotiations thus includes three items to which Lithuania has been calling attention: Russia's attitude to the frozen conflicts' in Abkhazia and the Trans-Dniester region (with emphasis on the territorial integrity of Georgia and Moldova), its effective cooperation in the field of justice and law enforcement (in the context of claims by victims of Stalinism), and its standpoint on energy (the problem of Moscow's closure of the Druzhba pipeline which was supplying Lithuania). …

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