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EU FMs in Brussels to discuss preps for Russia-EU summit

January 20, 2014, 6:08 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
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BRUSSELS, January 20, /ITAR-TASS/. At this year's first meeting, the Foreign ministers of European Union (EU) countries here on Monday will review the preparation for the Russia-EU 32nd summit which is to be held in the Belgian capital on January 28, as well as examine the situation in Ukraine, and relations with Iran.

When discussing matters concerning the EU's strategic partnership with Russia, the Ministers will express their opinions at a working lunch provided for by the meeting's agenda. As a result of discussion, it is planned to draw conclusions about the state of and prospects for interaction with the RF on a broad spectrum of issues.

As far as the situation in Ukraine is concerned, the Foreign ministers are expected only to exchange opinions. It is not planned to adopt any statements, since the theme is not put on the agenda.The Ministers, probably, will not bypass the ablythe bills on democratic principles and civil rights, approved by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16.

At the workin lunch, the foreign-policy chiefs will also discuss the entire spectrum of relatons with the countries of the Eastern Partnership (EU's multilateral programme aimed at developing regional cooperation with six post-Soviet republics -- Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine) as well as prospects for this Euroepan project as such.

As for Iran, the Ministers are expected to decide on suspending the application of a number of EU sanctions against the Islamic Republic. However, this step will be taken only if a confirmation comes from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the same day that Tehran began to implement the agreement on its nuclear programme. The application of the sanctions will be suspended for six months. It is planned, in particular, to freeze the ban on financial transactions with Iran, investments in its petrochemical industry, the insurance of Iranian tankers and trade with the republic in precious stones and metals.

The situation in Syria will be yet another item on the agenda of the meeting. The Minidters are expected to declsre once again in favour of supporting the forthcoming confrrence in Motreux on a peaceful settlement of the conflict and call on the conflicting sides to participate in the conference.

Besides, the Foreign ministers are to approve a concept of managing the crisis in the Central African Republic, the concept suggested by the EU foreign-policy service, and take a decision on the dispatch of a military mssion to that African country where sanguinary clashes go on between Christians, who consititute a half of the population, and Muslims (accounting for about 15 percent of the population). This refers to the dispatch of 400 to 600 servicemen from EU countries towards the end of February for a term of four to six months.

The agenda of the meeting of the EU Council for Foreign Affairs also includes items envisaging a discussion of the Middle East peace process, and the situation in Egypt and Southern Sudan.

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