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    EU, Russia agree to resume talks on partnership pact - 2

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    The European Union and Russia have agreed to restart talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement, the president of the European Commission said after an EU-Russia summit in Nice on Friday.

    (Adds EU spokeswoman's comments in para 4, background throughout)

    NICE, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union and Russia have agreed to restart talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement, the president of the European Commission said after an EU-Russia summit in Nice on Friday.

    Jose Manuel Barroso did not say however when the "strategic" document to restart talks would be signed.

    He also said the European Commission was ready to send a delegation to Moscow at the beginning of next year so that top level contacts could be resumed.

    European Commission external relations spokeswoman Christiane Hohmann was quoted by EUbusiness.com as saying on Friday that the talks could be resumed on December 2 in Brussels.

    Attending the summit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the end of the delay in the talks. Negotiations were frozen on September 1 amid a diplomatic row caused by the presence of Russian troops in Georgia after a five-day war between the two countries over breakaway South Ossetia in August.

    Western powers were initially critical of Russia's response to Georgia's attack on the breakaway republic, but this stance has softened of late.

    The 27-nation European bloc said on Monday that talks on a partnership agreement would resume later this month, despite opposition from Lithuania.

    "The conflict in Georgia has emphasized the crucial need for permanent political dialogue between the EU and the Russian Federation, while the global economic crisis has underlined once more the interdependence between the EU and Russian economies," Barroso said before the summit.

    The first round of talks on a new deal was held in July. The agreement is set to replace the 1997 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which was extended for a year when it expired in December 2007. The talks were earlier postponed over Polish and Lithuanian opposition.

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