Russia’s foreign minister to attend EU-Russia meeting

By RIA Novosti,

Brussels : Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend a meeting of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council in Brussels on Monday, a ministry spokesman said.

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Carl Bildt, the foreign minister of current EU president Sweden, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner will also attend the meeting.

The talks are expected to focus on the preparations for the EU-Russia summit, scheduled for November 18 in Stockholm, as well as on a new partnership and cooperation agreement between Russia and the European Union.

The current Russia-EU agreement expired in late 2007, but was automatically extended. In early October, the sixth round of talks on the new agreement took place in Brussels.

The previous Russia-EU summit took place on May 21-22 in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk. Russia-EU summits are held twice a year – once in Russia and once in the country holding the European Union’s rotating presidency.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said Moscow is also expected to discuss a visa-free regime between Russia and the EU, adding it was one of the goals of the Russia-EU strategic cooperation.

The agenda of the talks will also include Russia-EU economic cooperation and a range of international issues, such as Medvedev’s initiative to develop a European security treaty and Iran’s nuclear problem.
Meetings of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council are a key platform for discussions between Russia and the European Union.

A PPC meeting on environmental protection will take place in Moscow on November 10, and another meeting, to focus on freedom, security and justice, is scheduled for December 2 in Stockholm.