Russia and the European Union start a regular round of consultations on concluding a new agreement on steel trade in Paris Monday. This was disclosed by a source in the European commission. The term of the currently effective agreement on trade in certain steel items between Russia and the European Association of Coal and Steel expires December 31, 2001. Russian-EU talks on developing the basics of the new agreement began in the first half of November. The talks resulted preliminary in EU principle consent to expand the quota for deliveries of Russian metallurgical products to the European market by 30 percent. EC Commissioner Pascal Lami, who paid an official visit to Moscow early in December, did not rule out possible coordination of the new agreement parameters already this month. In the course of this meeting in Paris the issue of extending the current agreement is expected to be settled, should the new agreement is unable to come into force immediately on January 1, 2002.
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February