RUSSIAN MP: RUSSIA'S AGREEMENT WITH EU TO BE APPLIED TO NEW MEMBERS TEMPORARILY

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MOSCOW, March 29, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The agreement on partnership and cooperation between Russia and the European Union signed in 1994 can be applied to the ten new EU members only temporarily, chairman of the Russian State Duma's foreign affairs committee Konstantin Kosachyov said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday.

The lower chamber of the Russian parliament believes that the instant application of the agreement to the new EU members is "hardly relevant and hardly possible," he said.

Direct consequences of the EU expansion for Russia and Russian business are still not clear, Mr. Kosachyov emphasized. Temporary application of the agreement to the ten new members will allow seeing how it works in different spheres of cooperation between Russia and these countries. This will allow making the necessary adjustments and working out the best plan of action without causing any problems, he believes.

The Russian party estimates that it may lose from $150 to $300 million annually after the Union's tougher regulations are introduced for trade with these countries.

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