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Russian Foreign Minister to Attend Session of Russia-EU Cooperation Council

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is to attend a session of the Russia - European Union (EU) cooperation council, discussing key aspects of mutual economic cooperation.

Talking to RIA-NOVOSTI, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Alexander Yakovenko noted that the session will also discuss the elaboration of a concept dealing with the common European economic infrastructure, as well as expanded Russia-EU energy partnership.

Special attention will be devoted to specific consequences of the EU's expansion for Russia and to removing Moscow's concerns on this score, Yakovenko noted. In his words, the list of such concerns includes the application of EU quotas and other non-tariff restrictions (as regards Russian goods) to new EU members, as well as the visa regime's introduction.

According to Yakovenko, the sides will examine the implementation of the November 2002 Russia-EU summit's accords dealing with passenger transits between the Kaliningrad region, i.e. Russia's Baltic enclave, and mainland Russia.

The Russian side will continue to exert efforts for the sake of launching practical work as regards Vladimir Putin's initiative stipulating visa-free mutual trips by Russian and EU citizens, Yakovenko noted. Everything will be done in order to launch such work as quickly as possible, he added.

Talking about Russia-EU interaction on the international scene, Yakovenko noted that Russian and EU positions were either similar or coincided completely on many international issues.

In his words, Russia and the EU are interested in searching for joint answers to new threats and challenges, in settling specific crises, the crisis around Iraq, first and foremost, on the basis of the UN Security Council's resolutions. The same is true of the Mideastern conflict and that in Afghanistan.

Moscow also intends to expand the mutual dialogue within the framework of international organizations, the UN and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), in the first place. Russia-EU interaction in the field of anti-terrorist operations still remains rather topical. Most importantly, we must bring to trial all those, who perpetrate terrorist outrages, as well as those, who mastermind and sponsor such crimes, Yakovenko said in conclusion.

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