Talks on strained relations avoided in Russia-EU summit

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Moscow, Oct 26 (UNI) Russia and European Union have avoided discussions on their strained relations before the opening of a summit in Portugal today.

Both avoided talk of a crisis in relations caused by numerous differences, including Poland's veto on a partnership deal.

The 20th Russia-EU summit, to be held near Lisbon, is expected to extend the Russia-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement by another year following Poland's refusal to lift its veto imposed over Russia's meat ban, which continues to block talks on a new deal.

The Russian President's special envoy to the EU Sergei Yastrzhembsky said differences with the 27-nation bloc on bilateral and multilateral issues were not critical.

''If we cannot start negotiations on a new partnership and cooperation pact for well-known reasons, we can make up for it on other tracks,'' he was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Mr Yastrzhembsky said agreements between Russia and EU include early warning system for the energy sector, adding that the idea had been voiced at the summit in Samara, in Russia's Volga area, in May.

Earlier this week, he said the summit in Portugal would highlight the situation both within the EU and Russia, bilateral border cooperation, and pressing international issues such as the West Asia, Iran and Kosovo.

Russia is Europe's leading energy supplier, accounting for over a quarter of the continent's gas needs, 18 per cent of oil and 17 per cent of coal, Mr Yastrzhembsky stated earlier this week.

By next year, Russia and the EU also plan to sign a memorandum on joint emergency relief efforts.

The ambassador of Portugal in Russia Manuel Marcelo Curto said the EU would confirm its serious approach to partnership with Russia.

He said Portugal currently holds the rotating presidency of EU.

''We have all the necessary conditions to make Russia and the EU end the pause in their dialogue, which has only been useful for them,'' he added.

UNI

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