The European Union and Russia have agreed to resume strategic partnership talks next month that had been frozen over the conflict with Georgia. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had also received backing from Moscow for talks on security in Europe during a summit in Nice, France.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged both Russia and the United States to freeze missile deployments in Europe until security talks are held, ideally in mid-2009 within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Speaking to reporters after talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, Mr. Sarkozy said it was in everybody's interests to lay the foundations of the future of security in Europe. He said the talks should include the United States as well as Russia and the European Union. He spoke in his current role as president of the European Union.
U.S. plans to build a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic have particularly irked Moscow. Mr. Medvedev has called for deploying short-range missiles close to Europe's borders.
On Friday, the Russian president suggested that call was in response to the U.S. defense missile plans and that Moscow had never acted unilaterally.
Russia and the E.U. also agreed to restart special partnership talks on December 2. Europe had suspended the talks after the August conflict in Georgia.
The two leaders spoke just before leaving for Washington where they will join the world's top economic powers for a summit on ways to tackle the global financial crisis. Both leaders are expected to call for more government regulation.