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Financial crisis, energy to dominate Russia-EU summit


MOSCOW, May 18 (RIA Novosti) - The global financial crisis as well as European energy and security issues will be the focus of the upcoming Russia-EU summit, Russia's EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov said on Monday.

He said the Russian delegation at the meeting in the Russian Far East city of Khabarovsk, scheduled for May 21-22, will be led by President Dmitry Medvedev and include several cabinet ministers.

The EU will be represented by Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, which holds the EU rotating presidency, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"Cooperation and exchange not only of information, but also of experience in countering the crisis... would certainly be useful for both sides," Chizhov said.

He said energy would be the second key topic at the summit, and that the Russian president had recently put forward an initiative on the establishment of a new legal framework for energy cooperation.

"It is high time to think about working out a legal framework for international cooperation, better adapted to the present and the future," Chizhov said.

Russia has signed but not ratified the European Energy Charter (1991), over concerns that the charter would allow the EU to demand the de-monopolization of Russian oil and gas pipelines. Russia-EU negotiations on the Energy Charter have been ongoing since January 2000.

Chizhov said the summit would also address the situation in the South Caucasus.

"The situation in the Caucasus will evidently be discussed, primarily in respect to the consequences of the Georgian act of aggression against South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as other regional issues."

The Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute over Nagorny Karabakh may also be discussed, he said.

Chizhov said last month that a comprehensive Russia-EU partnership deal would be considered at the summit.

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