Delay Sought for EU Partnership Talks

VILNIUS, Lithuania — The presidents of Poland and Lithuania want the European Union to delay resuming talks with Russia on a new partnership pact until all Russian forces have left Georgia.

"We reiterate that under the continued occupation of Georgian territories it would be too early to resume talks on a new partnership agreement with Russia," said Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and Polish President Lech Kaczynski in a statement Monday.

They said the conclusions of a Sept. 1 EU summit that froze the partnership talks had to be kept. "And we underline that negotiations on the EU and Russia agreement should be renewed only when Russia withdraws its troops from Georgia to the positions held prior to Aug. 7," they added.

The statement shows the tough talks awaiting the EU as it decides whether to relaunch the talks with Russia. Showing the divergent EU views, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said last week that the EU would discuss resuming partnership talks with Moscow at an EU-Russia summit on Nov. 13 and 14.