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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Summit Put Off at Moscow's Request

AMSTERDAM -- A European Union summit with President Vladimir Putin that was to take place Thursday has been postponed at Moscow's request, the Dutch EU presidency said Monday.

Diplomatic sources said Moscow asked for a delay so Putin could meet the new EU Commission, whose formation was delayed after the European Parliament raised objections to several nominees, in particular Italy's Rocco Buttiglione.

But analysts said Putin may have been influenced by the fact that the EU and Russia have failed to agree on a new cooperation policy to set out future relations between the two sides.

A Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman, speaking for the rotating EU presidency, said the meeting will probably be rescheduled for December.

"It's postponed. We need to find another date," he said.

Putin has said preparations for the summit, one of a series of regular meetings with EU leaders, were upset by questions over the formation of the new commission.

A vote on a new commission is due to be held Nov. 18.

However, EU foreign ministers said last week it was likely there would be no agreement on a cooperation package with Russia because Moscow was resisting EU demands to include consultations on foreign policy issues.

"We have been working very hard toward an agreement. There are some areas, to be frank, where we would have wished to see the Russians be more forthcoming," said Emma Udwin, spokeswoman for EU External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten.

"We will continue to work very hard to make sure there can be an agreement," she told a news briefing, adding that new dates for the meeting were under discussion for December but that nothing had been fixed so far.

A negotiating document showed Russia and the EU were still far apart on key external security issues that Brussels says must be an integral part of the accord.

The document -- a Russian counterproposal to EU ideas -- showed Moscow had systematically deleted references to democratic principles, human rights and the idea of a common neighborhood.

The Russians had also deleted EU proposals for "cooperation to resolve existing conflicts in Moldova and the Southern Caucasus" and for full implementation of Russian commitments to withdraw forces from Georgia.