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    DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTRY HAILS MOSCOW'S WILLINGNESS TO CARRY ON DIALOGUE WITH EU

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    THE HAGUE, February 5, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Aleksandr Dobrovolsky) - The Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands qualifies the Russian president's statement to the effect that Russia is willing to come to a compromise at talks with the European Union as important. Vladimir Putin made this statement at a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in Moscow on Wednesday.

    Herman Quarles, spokesman for the Dutch Secretary of State on European Affairs, said in a RIA Novosti interview that President Putin's words were important and deserved a thorough study. The Netherlands will hold the rotating EU chairmanship from July to the end of 2004.

    EU-Russia relations become increasingly important and they will get more still important when the EU enlarges to admit new members in May 2004, said Mr Quarles.

    The Dutch foreign ministry is outlining political guidelines for the EU for the period of Holland's chairmanship. "Russia-related issues will be prominent on the EU agenda this year," emphasised the Dutch diplomat.

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