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Russia refines Kazakhstan relations, EU relations tarnish

brussels bureau

Russia refines Kazakhstan relations, EU relations tarnish


Just days away from a summit with the European Union, Russia has put the seal on a project with Kazakhstan to enrich uranium together. The Central Asian state, a rapidly growing oil producer, wants to become the world’s foremost uranium producer by 2010, to profit from a global nuclear renaissance.

Meanwhile, a host of problems between the European Union and Russia have thrown the EU-Russia summit scheduled for May 18th into doubt. Most recently, Brussels urged Moscow to tone down criticism of EU member Estonia over
the removal of a Soviet monument in Tallinn.

During a debate at the European Parliament, the leader of the liberal group, Graham Watson, suggested the Russians calm down a bit. Watson said: “When intimidation primes over negotiations, it can no longer be business as usual between the European Union and Russia.”

Parliament nevertheless passed a resolution calling for calm and regretting the tensions. Estonia moved the statue to the Red Army fallen in WWII from the centre of Tallinn last month, infuriating the Kremlin and sparking violence in the Estonian capital as ethnic Russians rioted.

There is also rancour over a Russian ban of meat imports from Poland holding up the launch of talks on a strategic partnership, in which energy security is central, and Russia’s anger over anti-missile emplacements in EU member states.

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