– KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia (Reuters) - Russia and the European Union said on Friday they had turned a new page in their sometimes testy relations after launching long-delayed talks on a new cooperation pact.
A relaxed, smiling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, making his debut with EU chiefs, hailed the “sincere, neighborly” mood at a three-hour meeting in a Siberian oil town.
It contrasted with the last, bad-tempered EU summit hosted by Russia last year, when Medvedev’s predecessor Vladimir Putin coldly rejected suggestions he was rolling back democracy.
Friday’s centerpiece was the formal launch of negotiations on a new strategic agreement governing relations between the EU and Russia, its third biggest trading partner. A first round of negotiations will be held in Brussels on July 4. –
Comment: A new axis of power is taking shape.