Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, EU to continue unofficial talks on pan-European security

RIA Novosti

28/10/2008 17:14 MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the European Union have agreed to continue unofficial talks on a pan-European security treaty, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"We have been at the stage of unofficial communications, detailing our proposals, ever since the Russian president voiced the idea in Berlin on June 5," Lavrov said after a meeting of the EU-Russia partnership council.

He said several rounds of talks on the treaty had already been held, but did not disclose any timeframe for any signing.

Russia's top diplomat said the leaders of Russia and EU member countries would discuss Dmitry Medvedev's initiative at an EU-Russia summit in Nice, scheduled for November 13-14.

"The most important thing is to start honest, sincere talks and try to understand each other's concerns," Lavrov said. "I am sure that when we reach such an understanding, we will be able to agree on how to ensure an advanced, transparent structure of collective security."

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he expected a timetable for talks on a new EU-Russia partnership agreement would be drafted at the summit.

A new partnership agreement is designed to replace the current extended agreement, which expired in late 2007.

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