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    MOSCOW, January 28th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Chizhov believes that Russia's relations with the European Union (EU) are making slow but sure progress. He said this on Wednesday at a Moscow seminar devoted to the current Russia-EU relations.

    There is no ground to speak about any crisis. The relations between Russia and the EU can be described as strategic partnership and have a successful record in the main strategic co-operation guidelines," said Chizhov.

    In this context, he praised the Russia-EU summits in St. Petersburg and Rome.

    At the same time, the deputy foreign minister added, "these relations have given rise to snowballing myths and misinterpretations." In particular, Russia-EU relations are excessively politicised.

    "We have a long list of unresolved trade and economic problems, but we are not dramatising the situation because there are scores of similar problems facing EU nations and other countries," noted Chizhov.

    In his opinion, there is no question of Russia joining the EU as a full-fledged member or an associated country now or in the near future.

    The deputy minister assigned priority to involving potential EU members in the Russia-EU agreement on partnership and co-operation.

    Equally important is Russia's interaction with the EU in reducing the possible negative consequences for Russia after new members join the EU.

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