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Russian presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky is certain that Russia will not ratify the Energy Charter
Russian presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky is certain that Russia will not ratify the Energy Charter. “This will not happen today or tomorrow,” he told the media, adding that Russia was against both the Charter proper and the transit protocol. “Russia has an opportunity to revise the documents and to draft a new wording (of the Charter and the protocol). The European Union, for instance, does not object to including some principles of energy cooperation in a future partnership agreement. Russia is prepared for this,” Yastrzhembsky said. “But the stance of some countries (Poland – Itar-Tass) impedes the beginning of such talks (on a new partnership agreement).” He believes that the current partnership agreement between Russia and the European Union can be prolonged repeatedly, until a new one, meeting the interests of both sides has been agreed on. “We shall be prolonging the existing agreement, which is expiring in 2007, until a new one, that satisfies both sides has been formulated,” he said. Yastrzhembsky believes that the European Commission’s lack of a mandate for talks with Russia on a new partnership agreement is a purely internal affair of the EU. “The ball is in the EU court. That’s the EU’s own problem,” he told the media. “As far as Russia’s suspended import of Polish meat is concerned, it is a purely technical problem, and it has no bearing whatsoever on the agreement between Russia and the EU on partnership. The Polish side knows pretty well what is to be done to change the situation.” Yastrzhembsky sees nothing dramatic in the fact the European Commission still lacks a mandate for talks on a new partnership agreement on the eve of the Russia-EU summit. “We had anticipated the European Commission would get such a mandate. There is the mandate on the Russian side, the delegation has been formed, but complications have emerged due to the stance of one single country (Poland – Itar-Tass),” Yastrzhembsky told a news conference in Moscow. “There is a possibility the European Commission will not get the mandate before the summit. In any case the summit conference will discuss this theme. There is nothing dramatic about that. No legal vacuum will be created. We shall be prepared to discuss the content and principles of a future document. This is of interest to us and to our European partners,” he said. The Russia-EU summit is due in Helsinki on November 24. The presidential aide said the existing partnership agreement was “morally obsolete.” A future base agreement is to reflect the changes that have occurred in Russia and the European Union, including the EU’s expansion. Russia’s forthcoming admission to the World Trade Organization will certainly influence Russia-EU relations, too. “This document (future agreement) is to reshape the economic and financial cooperation. It must be legally binding,” Yastrzhembsky said, recalling that its ratification by the contracting parties was mandatory. At the same time this base treaty must be brief enough and address only the basic aspects of cooperation, Yastrzhembsky said, adding that alongside the conclusion of the base treaty it would be possible to sing industrial agreements regarding issues that would be left outside the framework of the base document. The presidential representative also said that the yet-to-be concluded treaty must extend well into the future. “There have been proposals for extending the agreement’s operation over ten, fifteen or twenty five years. A decision is still to be made,” he said.
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