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Russia-EU Cooperation Council Begins Session in Luxembourg

A session of the Russia-European Union Cooperation Council has opened in Luxembourg.

The session is chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and his Greek counterpart Yeoryios Papandreou, who chairs the EU Council of Ministers in the first half of 2003.

Earlier, the official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry told RIA Novosti that the sides were planning to have a detailed discussion of various aspects of Russia-EU relations, including economic co-operation, creation of a common European economic space, energy dialogue, environmental issues /including nuclear safety and safety at sea/, co-operation in the sphere of European security and defence policy, and the Kaliningrad problem.

The sides will also focus on the situation around Iraq and North Korea, Mideastern settlement, and issues dealing with Cyprus and Transdniestria.

Preparations for the Russia-EU summit meeting in St. Petersburg in late May is another item on the agenda.

The Russia-EU Co-operation Council was set up in the framework of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement /PCA/ the European Union and Russia had signed in 1994. The PCA entered into force on December 1, 1997.

The Council gathers at the level of ministers once a year to monitor fulfilment of the PCA. It also gives recommendations as to how to develop this co-operation in the future.

Russia is the country that chairs in the Co-operation Council in 2003.

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