The summit between the leaders of Russia, France and Germany in Kaliningrad has ended with agreement on a number of issues, but two notable differences of opinion. Just two days before the start of the G8 summit Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder and Vladimir Putin will go to Scotland with common positions on the environment, aid to Africa, and Iran. President Putin is also offering German diplomacy a considerable boost by backing its campaign for greater influence at the UN. However things were not all sweetness and light between Putin and Chancellor Schroeder. Putin suggested that with the stymied EU constitution it would be a good time to postpone further EU enlargement, to which Schroeder retorted that that was a matter for the EU to decide alone.There was also no agreement on the frontiers of two Baltic states, and thus the EU’s, with Russia. This is currently hindering free movement and trade for new members Estonia and Latvia, and Moscow. However Putin did endorse a long-held German ambition. “From today Russia will be supporting Germany’s candidature for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council”, he announced. The three men may well be satisfied at a meeting that appears to have paid dividends but the real value may only emerge at the G8 meeting. There their resolve to engage the US in the Kyoto environmental protocol will be tested to the full.
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