Lavrov Upbeat About EU Talks

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that he had received signals from the European Union that talks on a new partnership agreement would start soon, despite Lithuanian threats to veto the negotiations this week.

Talks on the wide-ranging pact covering trade, justice and political links are to start at an EU-Russia summit in late June in Khanty-Mansiisk, if the European side can agree to it.

"If what our EU colleagues are hinting at comes about, then we can start these negotiations in the nearest future, and announce it during the summit in Khanty-Mansiisk," Lavrov said, Interfax reported.

EU foreign ministers are due to discuss the matter Tuesday, but an agreement is in jeopardy after Lithuania signaled strong reservations.