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    KOSACHEV SPEAKS ABOUT RUSSIA-EU CONSULTATIONS

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    MOSCOW, March 14, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - A solution of the problem of freight transit to the Kaliningrad region (the Russian enclave in the Baltic area) via Lithuania has met with difficulties, Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the State Duma (the Russian parliament's lower chamber) International Affairs Committee, told journalists Tuesday.

    He noted that presently this problem was a subject of meetings between Russia and the EU. "On a number of other issues, such as quotas for Russian grain, nuclear cycle products and Russian steel, the discussion is advancing towards a mutually acceptable compromise," Mr. Kosachev said.

    He said a solution to the problem of freight transit via Lithuania was "hindered by tougher general rules of the European Union which do not permit any exceptions."

    Mr. Kosachev also said that the EU summit (Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref will participate in) would be held in Brussels on March 26 and the Russia-EU summit (Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission, will participate in) would take place in Moscow on April 21.

    "On the basis of these two major events we will be able to judge whether we will be able to take all of the problems off the Russian-EU agenda before May 1, when the EU expansion takes place," Mr. Kosachev said.

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