EU - France wants EU partnership deal with Russia

12th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

France hopes to reach agreement on a broad EU strategic partnership with Russia during its six-month presidency.

   PARIS, March 12, 2008 - France hopes to reach agreement on a broad EU
strategic partnership with Russia during its six-month presidency of the
European Union later this year, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Tuesday.
   "We are very much determined to make a strategic partnership with Russia
one of the objectives of the French presidency," said Kouchner during a joint
news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
   France takes the helm of the 27-nation European Union in July, with
ambitious plans to advance the bloc's agenda on security and other issues.
   Kouchner stressed that while the European Union and Russia could have
divergent views on issues such as the independence of the Serbian province of
Kosovo, they could still cooperate.
   "We will work together on that during the French presidency and we have no
doubt that we will succeed," said Kouchner of the proposed new partnership.
   Ties with Russia have also been strained over Moscow's assertive energy
policy and questions over the Kremlin's commitment to democracy and human
rights.
   Making his first visit to Paris since the election of Dmitry Medvedev to
the Russian presidency, Lavrov said Moscow was hoping for a stronger
Franco-Russian relationship.
   Lavrov said it was important that the European Union and Russia to have "as
soon as possible a legal basis for cooperation", noting that Russia had
already reached such an agreement with NATO.
   "President Nicolas Sarkozy's ideas on the future architecture of European
security are very appealing," said Lavrov.
   These proposals "take into account the role played by Russia in the
geostrategic, political and military balance of the world," he added.

AFP 

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