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Last block to EU-Russia partnership is lifted

 Last block to EU-Russia partnership is lifted
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EU foreign ministers have persuaded Vilnius to lift its veto on talks over a new pact between the EU and Russia. It is hoped discussions will get underway at an EU-Russia summit in Siberia next month. The deal, which has been stalled for 18 months, is meant to redefine relations between Moscow and Brussels, with trade and energy among the main issues.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel: “With the frozen conflicts, we have dealt with the effective judicial cooperation of Russia in both criminal investigations and cases before EU courts, and we have dealt with energy problems, or energy security problems. We have in this way concluded an era of hesitation and misunderstandings”

Lithuania has demanded a number of assurances from Russia over issues including the resumption of supplies of crude oil via the Druzhba pipeline, which were cut in 2006, as well as involvement in regional conflicts in Georgia and Moldova.

Poland had been the main obstacle to progress on the talks due a Russian ban on imports of Polish meat. But Warsaw dropped its veto last month, leaving Lithuania as the only EU member standing in the way.