Russia and EU to resume talks

EUROPEAN UNION foreign ministers are to resume partnership talks with Russia, despite the former Soviet republic Lithuania calling the decision a mistake.

The EU suspended talks over Russia’s intervention in Georgia, and Lithuania argues that the move to resume talks is a mistake because of the pending withdrawal of troops.

Russia has not completely fulfilled the terms of an EU-brokered ceasefire, having more troops in Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region than before the conflict earlier this year.

But the 26 other EU members agreed it was time to re-engage with Moscow, with the British and Swedish governments stating that they “need and want” to work with Russia, although this would not mean “business as usual”.

Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sent to parliament a bill that extends the presidential term to six years from the current four.

Dmitry Medvedev said that the measure would give more time for the head of state to push through reforms, but did not say whether he wanted to extend his own term in office or that of his successor.

There has been widespread speculation that Russia’s current President is simply a stop-gap until his predecessor, Vladimir Putin returns to fill the post again.

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