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Russian PM criticises EU position on the Kaliningrad issue - 27 September, 2002

Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has turned down the proposals put forward by the European Union on the Kaliningrad issue (Kaliningrad is Russia's enclave in the Baltics).

Kasyanov said that "the proposals of the EU cannot be accepted" and they, in fact,"do not contribute to the solution of the issue." The Russian Premier stressed that "this is the same proposal on multiple visas but only formulated in a different way." Kasyanov regarded the EU proposals on the Kaliningrad issue as the actual introduction by the EU of special Kaliningrad passports on the territory of the Russian Federation.

The Russian Premier made the statements following the opening ceremony of the Salla international crossing point on the Russian-Finnish border.

Kasyanov stressed that the dialogue between Russia and the EU on the Kaliningrad issue would continue for a long period of time. Along with it, he noted that the situation around the negotiations at the present moment had changed for the better, but "the pace of the negotiations is not so dynamic as we'd like it to be." In his turn, Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who also took part in the opening ceremony of the international crossing point, said that the issue of Kaliningrad residents' movements could be resolved, if considered separately.

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