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Lithuania could try to block EU-Russia talks on a new cooperation
Lithuania could try to block EU-Russia talks on a new cooperation pact suspended last month despite the recent Russian troop pullout from Georgia, an EU diplomatic source said on Thursday.

The EU announced September 1 that it had suspended talks on the partnership and cooperation agreement with Russia over Moscow's military operation in Georgia and would not resume the negotiation process until the country pulled all its troops in Georgia back to their pre-August 7 positions.

Russia announced on Wednesday it had completed the withdrawal of all of its peacekeepers from a buffer zone on the border between Georgia and Abkhazia, two days ahead of the agreed deadline of October 10 under a deal signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy.

However, a diplomatic source in Brussels said that Lithuania believes the troop pull out is not enough for the resumption of partnership talks with Russia, and is set to gather support for its plans from among the other eastern European member-states, and the U.K.

The first round of talks on a new wide-ranging deal between Russia and the EU was held in July this year. The agreement is set to replace the 1997 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which expired in December 2007. The talks were delayed over disputes between Russia and EU members Poland and Lithuania. The second round of talks was due to take place on September 16.

Russia's EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov said the EU could resume talks with Russia by the end of October. The decision to resume talks on the long overdue strategic cooperation agreement is expected to be announced at an EU summit in the Belgian capital on October 15.


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