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|Tuesday, July 11, 2000, updated at 09:09(GMT+8)|
EU to Continue Supporting Russian ReformsThe European Union said Monday that it would continue to support the reforms and modernization process in Russia.
The statement was made after a meeting of the European Union foreign ministers' general affairs council.
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, whose country has just taken over the six-month rotating EU presidency from Portugal, said that the council would ask the European Commission and the council of EU economy ministers to pinpoint areas for continued EU-Russian cooperation.
The EU foreign ministers said in a statement that the council had recognized with interest the programs of political and economic reforms launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The cooperation should be organized for the benefit of rule of law and democratization for the sake of the entire society of the country," said a written statement issued after the council meeting, the first such meeting chaired by France after it took over the EU presidency.
The EU foreign ministers agreed that the scheduled EU-Russia summit would be of special importance in that it would be focused on a long-term, effective cooperation program between the two sides.
The EU-Russia summit is planned for October 30 in Paris.
The EU foreign ministers also instructed the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, to re-launch the preparation of the aid program for Russia known as TACIS for the period between now and 2003, especially a proposition for an action program for the year 2000 with the aim of supporting the ongoing political and economic reforms in the country.
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