EU to discuss diplomatic hot spots

March 26th, 2008 - 2:12 pm ICT by admin  

Brussels, March 26 (DPA) Syria, Russia and Kosovo are set to dominate the agenda Friday when the European Union’s foreign ministers hold an informal meeting in Slovenia. The traditional meeting, aimed at giving EU ministers a chance to discuss key issues without the political pressure to come to immediate decisions, is set to begin with a working lunch on Syria’s role in the Middle East peace process, according to the invitation sent by Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel.

“No lasting peace and stability in the region is thinkable without this state. We should discuss its role in the peace process, its involvement in Lebanon, its relations with Iran, and its influence on some of the terrorist groups,” Rupel’s letter ran.

The representatives of the EU’s 27 member states are then set to discuss relations with Russia in the light of the recent election of Dmitry Medvedev as the country’s new president.

The relationship between the EU and its main energy supplier have taken a sharp downturn in recent years, with a deal on political cooperation blocked over issues such as Russia’s ban on Polish food exports and its closure of a key oil pipeline to Lithuania.

On Saturday, the ministers are set to turn their attention to the troubled situation in the Western Balkans, where the secession of Kosovo has poisoned relations with Serbia and led to violent clashes in the Kosovo Serb stronghold of Mitrovica.

Ministers are first to hold an “internal debate on the importance of consolidating peace and enhancing stability and security in the region”, with the participation of the EU’s special representatives to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo.

They are then set to bring the foreign ministers of the Western Balkan states in to the talks to discuss ways of “enhancing the European perspective” of the region - the EU’s way of saying that it thinks all the Western Balkan states should join the bloc one day.

That session could well be fiery, as Serbia bitterly resents most EU members’ support for Kosovo’s independence.

The meeting is set to conclude with a working lunch between EU ministers and their counterparts from the countries that are candidates for membership: Croatia, Turkey and Macedonia.

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