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Europe

EU Negotiates Partnership With Russia

Russia and the EU continued their talks on Tuesday on a strategic partnership to be signed at the biannual EU Russia summit next month.

In preparation for the summit on Nov. 11, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, yesterday met Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot, EU Commissioner Chris Patten and Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy representative. The EU has offered Russia a "most favored nation" status, which ensures that Russia's exports benefit from the lowest possible EU tariffs, according to the Dutch EU Presidency. That tariff reduction means a direct benefit of € 300 million ($ 377.4 million) a year to Russia. According to the Moscow Times, the deal negotiated will include four areas: trade and EU investments in Russian transport, telecommunications and energy projects; cooperation in law enforcement and non-proliferation issues; settling border disputes with new EU members Estonia and Latvia; and negotiations for visa-free travel for Russians in western Europe. One of the sticky points in negotiations is the EU’s ability to act on events in areas such as Moldova, Chechnya and Georgia, which Russia sees as its own business. (EUobserver.com)

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