Progress difficult on Russia-EU energy treaty talks - Khristenko

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Viktor Khristenko, speaking at a briefing following a meeting of the G8 energy ministers, said: "Negotiations are ongoing, the talk process is not simple, and if results are reached, this would open up the possibility of ratifying [the charter]."

MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti) - The talks between Russia and the European Union on ratifying the Energy Charter Treaty are proving difficult, Russia's industry and energy minister said Thursday.

Viktor Khristenko, speaking at a briefing following a meeting of the G8 energy ministers, said: "Negotiations are ongoing, the talk process is not simple, and if results are reached, this would open up the possibility of ratifying [the charter]."

The talks are currently being held in a Russia-EU format, "as these two sides have different approaches."

The energy charter talks were addressed during the G8 ministers meeting, and the discussions focused mainly on Russia, he said.

"Russia signed the Energy Charter and is now holding active negotiations on the transit protocol," Khristenko said.

The European Energy Charter was signed on December 17, 1991, by 51 countries as a political obligation that is not legally binding.

The Energy Charter Treaty signed in December 1994, after three years of intensive negotiations, unites 49 countries, including all the former Soviet republics, the countries of central and eastern Europe, Japan, Australia and all the EU member states. The treaty covers trade, the protection of investments and transit rules, as well as mandatory procedures for settling disputes on a multilateral basis.

Russia has signed the Energy Charter but not ratified it.

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