by Marianna Mkrtchyan
Russia is ready to hold consultations over association between the CIS members and the European Union, but if such agreements affect the free trade zone (FTZ) of the Commonwealth, Moscow will take protective measures, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Interfax-Russia reports.
Russia is ready to hold consultations over association between the CIS members and the European Union, but if such agreements affect the free trade zone (FTZ) of the Commonwealth, Moscow will take protective measures, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "They proposed a July date, we are ready (for consultations) in any format," Lavrov said.
He added: "But the most important thing: when the agreements take effect which our partners in the CIS free trade zone are going to sign with the EU, and we realize that this is having an adverse effect on the functioning of the CIS FTZ, an adverse effect on the conditions under which we joined the WTO (World Trade Organization), we will, of course, take protective measures in full compliance with the WTO rules." For the past six months Russia has been calling for consultations, but nothing major happened, he said, Interfax reports.
"Our main goal is: we want not to react but understand what consequences there will be for our trade," Lavrov said.
The minister added that preliminary contacts over the association issue, which were held previously, "were at the level of 'we-better-sort-this-out' talk, not a concrete business-like working process."
Earlier European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that the EU, Russia and the three post- Soviet countries, which are due to sign EU association agreements, are due to start trilateral consultations on July 11.
He said he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 13 and confirmed his proposal to start consultations over the implementation of these agreements (with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova).Barroso said they both agreed on the trilateral consultations, adding that he also spoke to President Petr Poroshenko before phoning to Putin.
The consultations are scheduled to take place in Brussels on July 11 and will be held at the ministerial level. The EC will be represented by its Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, Barroso said.