EU-Russia talks could resume at summit: Kouchner
"A resumption of the negotiations is inevitable..."
The European Union does not rule out resuming talks with Russia on a partnership pact at an EU-Russia summit on November 14, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Kouchner and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana are likely to discuss the pact, frozen over Russia`s war with Georgia in August, when they meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in St Petersburg on Tuesday.
Asked in an interview with Russia`s Kommersant newspaper if tensions between Moscow and the EU meant the treaty talks would not be resumed at the summit in the French city of Nice, Kouchner said: "Not at all."
"Twenty-seven EU foreign ministers decided at our last meeting that a resumption of the negotiations is inevitable," Kouchner, whose country holds the EU`s rotating presidency, was quoted as saying.
"We suspended the negotiations because we wanted Russia to comply with the agreement on the withdrawal of its troops. And that has been done."
The partnership and cooperation pact is designed as a blueprint for long-term relations between Moscow and Brussels. Russia supplies a quarter of Europe`s gas while the EU is Russia`s biggest trading partner.
Kouchner also restated his belief that there was a risk of a conflict between Russia and aspiring NATO member Ukraine over the Crimean Peninsula, a part of Ukraine with a predominantly Russian-speaking population.