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  Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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Lithuania has reiterated its opposition to the resumption of talks
Lithuania has reiterated its opposition to the resumption of talks on a new strategic partnership deal with Russia ahead of an EU ministerial meeting, Belgian media reported on Friday.

EU foreign ministers are to meet in Brussels on November 10.

"The EU French presidency has failed to persuade Lithuania to agree to the resumption of talks on an EU-Russia partnership agreement, and this could put a strain on talks during the upcoming meeting of EU foreign ministers," a report in the Belgian media said.

The presidents of Poland and Lithuania have said the EU should delay resuming talks on a new EU partnership and cooperation pact with Moscow until all Russian troops are withdrawn from the breakaway Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The 27-nation bloc announced on September 1 that it had suspended talks on the pact with Russia over the presence of Russian troops in Georgia following a brief conflict over breakaway South Ossetia in August. The EU said it would not resume the talks until Russia pulled all its troops in Georgia back to their pre-conflict positions.

The conflict began when Georgian troops launched an attack on South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Although Moscow then completed its troop pullout from buffer zones in Georgia, questions remain over the scale of its presence in South Ossetia. Furthermore, some EU member-states said they wanted to see progress in talks on the future of South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia - both recognized by Russia as independent states on August 26 - before discussing relations with Moscow.

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


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