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General Affairs and External Relations Council: extracts from the joint press conference by Dimitrij Rupel, Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Javier Solana

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The EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs agreed on 26 May 2008 to mandate the European Commission to begin talks with Russia on a strategic partnership including binding measures on such issues as energy, security, trade and education. They agreed also to double the size of its police training mission in Afghanistan, which currently has about 230 people engaged. The Ministers discussed a Polish-Swedish proposal to create a new "Eastern Partnership", reinforcing the EU's links with Eastern countries like Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the EC in charge of External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, said that the European Commission can support this proposal because it is about regional cooperation and has an added value. In relation with Georgia, the Council reiterated the European Union's serious concern about the recent events that have raised tensions with Russia, and in this context, reaffirmed its full commitment to the principles of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
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Type: EbS   Reference: 57442   Date: 26/05/2008   Duration: 00:03:13
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