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Sergei Lavrov and Jean Asselborn, will meet in Moscow on Wednesday
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his counterpart from Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, will meet in Moscow on Wednesday. Preparations for the Russia-European Union summit, scheduled to be held in Moscow May 10, will be central on the agenda. Luxembourg currently holds the rotating EU presidency. The EU intends to build a long-term strategic partnership with Russia, Mr. Asselborn said in an interview with RIA Novosti ahead of his Moscow visit. He intends to discuss "roadmaps" for creating four Russian-EU common interests: economics, external and internal security, science and education, and culture. Mr. Asselborn said talks on the "roadmaps" would hopefully be completed by the Moscow summit. Mr. Lavrov is expected to draw attention to some of Russia's concerns. In particular, he will emphasize the importance of fully implementing obligations under the statement on Russia-EU relations the parties adopted in Luxembourg on April 27, 2004, Alexander Yakovenko, the Foreign Ministry's official spokesman, told RIA Novosti. Russia's foremost concern is about transits to and from its western exclave region of Kaliningrad and the observance of human rights of ethnic minorities in Latvia and Estonia, now EU members. "We seek to launch a joint mechanism to settle the Kaliningrad problem that was caused by EU enlargement and regular discussions on human rights, including ethnic minorities' rights, as soon as possible," Mr. Yakovenko said. Mr. Asselborn believes the Baltic countries have demonstrated their commitment to ensuring Russian-speaking minorities' rights. Estonia and Latvia fulfill their international obligations as long as they are in compliance with them, he said. Mr. Asselborn also said Russia would play a constructive role in addressing problems facing ethnic minorities in the Baltic republics. The ministers will also discuss international issues, among them the Middle East settlement, as Russia and the EU are peace-process mediators along with the UN and U.S. Mr. Asselborn said they would also discuss developments in the Balkans, Georgia, and Moldova. Bilateral relations between Russia and Luxembourg will also be central at the meeting.
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