EU foreign ministers differ over Kaliningrad

EU foreign ministers meeting in a Council of the European Union session in Brussels Monday cannot yet find common ground on Kaliningrad Region (the Russian Baltic enclave). A diplomatic source has disclosed the debate on the European Commission's proposals on the issue has run into problems.

EU ministers are to consider the Kaliningrad issue twice throughout the day. In the morning, Kaliningrad was discussed as part of preparation for the EU Summit on enlargement in Brussels October 24-25. Within the next few hours, the issue will come up again as a major foreign policy issue.

Early reports suggest the ministers failed to reach a consensus on Kaliningrad during the first portion of the meeting. The discussion is set to continue, but the Council of the EU may not deliver a document today setting out the 15-nation bloc's position in further talks with Russia.

One sticking point, sources say, is the position of France that the EC's proposals "must be expanded in Russia's favor." The French delegation has argued that the issue of launching a high-speed, non-stop train "should not be shelved and can be resolved much sooner than suggested in the EC's document." At the same time, instituting a simplified transit document for Russian nationals has not been objected to at the meeting.

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