Dáil Éireann - Volume 649 - 11 March, 2008
Written Answers. - Diplomatic Relations.
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Deputy Bernard J. Durkan
 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he or his EU colleagues have had discussions or otherwise engaged with the new Russian President with particular reference to the need to promote and sponsor good relations and trade between Ireland within the EU and Russia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10704/08]
Deputy Dermot Ahern Deputy Dermot Ahern
Deputy Dermot Ahern: The EU has not yet had the opportunity to engage with Mr Medvedev, who will be inaugurated as President of the Russian Federation on 7 May. President McAleese has sent a message of congratulations and good wishes to him on his election. On behalf of the European Union, the Presidency has expressed the hope that partnership with Russia will be further strengthened and developed constructively during his tenure as President. The next EU-Russia Summit in Siberia at the end of June will mark the start of the relationship between the EU and President Medvedev.
Ireland and the EU remain committed to building stronger relations with Russia. Russia is the EU’s third largest trade partner, after the US and China, and its largest energy supplier. The EU is Russia’s largest energy market. As a long-standing supporter of Russian membership of the WTO, the EU would like to see Russia accede at an early date. This would serve as an international framework of common rules and standards within which trade and wider economic relations between countries could flourish. I also hope that negotiations for a comprehensive new agreement between the EU and Russia, which have been blocked for over a year, can be opened soon. Russia is also a major, if challenging, partner of the EU in regard to issues of regional and international peace and security. At the same time, there are issues of serious concern to be addressed in regard to Russia’s adherence to human rights and democratic standards.
Questions Nos. 285 and 286 answered with Question No. 90.
Question No. 287 answered with Question No. 135.
Dáil Éireann 649 Written Answers. Diplomatic Relations.