11 Nov 2008

EU to restart Russia pact talks

8:38 am on 11 November 2008

The European Union agreed on Monday to resume talks with Russia on a partnership pact.

The 27-nation bloc froze talks on the pact after an incursion by Russia into Georgia over the breakaway South Ossetia region in August.

Following a gradual pullback of Russian troops, most EU member states consider it is now in Europe's interest to resume talks on a pact that covers political, economic and trade ties. Russia is their major supplier of energy.

EU states have been grappling with the issue for weeks. Britain and Sweden are among a minority of countries with reservations about relaunching the negotiations.

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said on Monday that new talks could go ahead after a EU-Russia summit on Friday and peace talks in Geneva on 18 November.

Georgian Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili earlier warned the EU that its decision would encourage Russian aggression.