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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kyrgyzstan, Much-Delayed Pact Top EU-Russia Talks

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Disputes over Kyrgyzstan and a much-delayed cooperation pact topped the agenda of Friday's ministerial talks between the European Union and Russia, officials said.

EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin told reporters Thursday that the Kyrgyz situation would be discussed at a meeting between the EU's top foreign policy chiefs and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Luxembourg.

"We are indeed closely monitoring the situation" in Kyrgyzstan, Udwin said, adding it would be the first opportunity the two sides have had to discuss the crisis there.

The EU side was to be represented by Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn of Luxembourg, which holds the EU presidency, EU foreign policy representative Javier Solana and EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

Lavrov last week criticized Solana for comments on Kyrgyzstan and has similarly slammed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He accused both of egging on the Kyrgyz opposition.

Russia and the EU were to discuss the situations in Moldova and in Georgia, as well as Iran's nuclear programs.

In addition, the two sides were to focus on finalizing an EU-Russia pact, talks on which have been stalled for months. Delegations have been traveling between Brussels and Moscow frequently to negotiate a sensitive accord on cooperating in judicial matters, a key sticking point that continues to hold up the deal.

The new pact is meant to be signed at a May 10 EU-Russia summit in Moscow.

The deal was supposed to have been signed in November, but the two sides have yet to agree on new visa arrangements, joint efforts to end conflicts in the Caucasus and Russia's practice of charging EU airlines when they fly over Siberia.