Putin calls for rapid resumption of EU partnership talksMay 30th, 2008 - 7:17 am ICT by admin
Paris, May 30 (DPA) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called Thursday for a quick resumption of talks on a new partnership agreement with the European Union. Speaking to journalists after meeting in Paris with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Putin said that the talks should be taken up again “as soon as possible”.
Monday, EU foreign ministers had agreed on a mandate for a new partnership accord with Russia. But authorities in Moscow still fear that the talks will drag on without reaching a conclusion this year.
The Russian business daily Kommersant cited government officials as saying that the conclusion of the talks were the main reason for Putin’s visit to Paris, including his talks later Thursday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. France assumes the rotating six- month EU presidency on July 1.
Fillon told journalists that France was determined to conclude the partnership agreement with Russia during its presidency of the Union.
Putin said that a top priority of France’s EU presidency would be energy security. “And this can only be assured with a less tense and deeper relationship with Russia,” he said.
Putin concluded his one-day visit to France with a working dinner with Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace.
No details were released regarding their talks, but Fillon told journalists that Putin’s talks with Sarkozy would touch on NATO’s expansion to the post-Soviet states of Ukraine and Georgia.
In addition, Russian media had cited government officials as saying that Putin and Sarkozy would cover a broad range of foreign policy issues including US plans for a missile defence system in Europe, which Moscow sees as a threat to its nuclear deterent.
Putin was accompanied to Paris by Sergei Kiryenko, head of the Russian nuclear energy agency Rosatom, as well as the chiefs of Renault partner Avtovaz and the state-owned bank VTB, which owns a minority stake in aerospace giant EADS.
Earlier Thursday, Putin met with French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.