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Lithuania's president said on Friday that EU-Russia talks
Lithuania's president said on Friday that EU-Russia talks on a new strategic partnership deal cannot resume as Russia has failed to fulfill its obligations under an EU-brokered peace deal with Georgia.

"How can we speak about this if the six-point agreement [ending the Russia-Georgia conflict in August] has not been yet implemented?" President Valdas Adamkus said after arriving for an informal European Union summit in Brussels on Friday.

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 the 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 president of France, which holds the European Union's rotating presidency, said on Friday he believed it would be wrong to create a crisis in the bloc's relations with Russia.

"Should a crisis be created in Russia-EU relations? I believe it would be unreasonable," Nicolas Sarkozy told journalists in Brussels after an informal EU summit.

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 Russia meets all its commitments under the EU-brokered peace plan, including on troop levels in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, republics that Russia recognizes as independent states.

Commenting on the two countries' decision to block the European Union's talks with Russia, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Lithuania and Poland should bring their positions on talks on a new partnership pact with Russia closer to other EU states.

It is better to seek an imperfect solution than no solution at all, he added.

Although Moscow completed its troop pullout from buffer zones in Georgia in October, questions remain over the scale of its presence in South Ossetia. In particular, Lithuania demands that Russia withdraw its peacekeepers from the Leningorsk district and the upper Kodori Gorge.

EU foreign ministers will meet in Brussels on November 10.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner earlier said that the European Union could resume talks on a new cooperation pact with Russia this month. The Russia-EU summit is due to be held in Nice, France, on November 14.

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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