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    RUSSIAN SENATOR SPEAKS ON TALKS WITH EU

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    MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's position in the system of international relations after the signing of the protocol with the EU is becoming way stronger, Mikhail Margelov, the chairman of the Federation Council international affairs committee, told RIA Novosti on Friday.

    "The completion of talks between Russia and the EU on Russia's accession to the WTO is a new landmark in the history of bilateral international and trade-economic relations," Margelov said. "Of course, it does not mean automatic accession for Russia to this organization, but it is the main step on the road in this direction." Russia, while entering the system of international trade as a full-fledged member, gains, from the economic point of view, both pluses and minuses, Margelov believes. He stressed that from the point of view of international relations, Moscow's positions gain strength.

    "The signing of the protocol graphically demonstrates the recognition by the EU of Russia as a market economy country; accession to the WTO will make it possible for us to act as an international arbiter during trade and economic arguments, and the generally accepted mechanism of resolving trade arguments will become available to our companies." Margelov pointed out the positive vector of development of bilateral relations of late.

    "The recent signing by Russia of the protocol on extending the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement onto new EU members and on Russia's joining the WTO graphically demonstrates the positive relations of Russia and the European Union. I would like to hope that this positive charge will not be dispersed but will become the main driving force of our further relations," Margelov said.

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