Russia, Ukraine plan summit talks: officials

09:27, 15 September 2008
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The presidents of Russia and Ukraine held telephone conversation

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine discussed the future of Russia`s Black Sea Fleet and other sensitive issues Sunday by telephone and may hold summit talks before year`s end, officials said, according to Forbes.

In a statement, the Kremlin said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev talked with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yushchenko, and underscored concern over `a whole range of problems in bilateral relations.`

Resolving them, the statement said, would require `careful and constructive` work by experts from both countries `without politicising existing disagreements.

`After these issues have been resolved, concrete timeframes for top-level meetings can be discussed,` the Kremlin statement said.

The Kremlin did not specify what issues the two leaders discussed.

But in Kiev, the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement that Medvedev and Yushchenko had talked about the contentious question of the future of Russia`s Black Sea fleet and other thorny bilateral matters.

The statement said Yushchenko invited Medvedev to visit Ukraine for summit talks in November or December and said the invitation `was accepted by the president of Russia.`

Tensions between the two ex-Soviet neighbours have soared again recently, notably over Russia`s military intervention in Georgia and the movement of Black Sea Fleet warships -- based in Ukraine -- in connection with this.

On Saturday, Ukraine accused Russia of seeking to destabilise the ex-Soviet state, dismissing the idea it was in Moscow`s special zone of interest and describing Kiev`s EU and NATO ambitions as `irreversible.`

The Russian Black Sea Fleet, founded by Catherine the Great, has been based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol since the 19th century. Under a pact signed in 1997, the fleet may continue to lease the base until 2017.

Forbes

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