The European Union says it is ready to resume partnership talks with Russia. These talks on a wide-ranging political and economic pact were put on hold after Moscow went to war with Georgia in August.
But officials say there is concern whether Russia has fully implemented the peace deal that ended the conflict over the South Ossetia region.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said: “It is necessary to continue dialogue. Any other solution is not in Russia’s interest.We’re not ignoring Moscow’s incursion into Georgia. We condemn it, but this solution serves the interests of the European Union. We might eventually be able to influence Russia.”
Georgia has condemned the the decision and is calling on Brussels not to go ahead with talks. But Brussels is keen to close an agreement regarding oil and gas supplies, with the EU’s most important energy supplier, Russia.
Italian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Alfredo Mantica said: “Europe must maintain good neighbourly relations with Russia.” He continued: “We hope that Russia assumes its responsibilities, and that in Geneva, it is open to dialogue regarding Georgia but that should not become an essential precondition to opening dialogue with Russia.”
Officials say a new round of talks could be scheduled after an EU-Russia summit on Friday and a meeting in Geneva on the Georgian conflict on November 18th.