Brussels, 27 April 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The European Union and Russia have concluded a deal allowing for the extension of their partnership agreement to the EU's 10 acceding members.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and an EU delegation headed by Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen reached agreement on the issue at their meeting in Luxembourg this morning.
The two sides agreed to a joint declaration addressing a number of concerns raised by Russia in regard to EU enlargement.
Russia had previously said it would not extend the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement unless the EU agrees to a joint statement.
In the statement, the EU agrees to a number of trade concessions to minimize the potential harmful effects of enlargement.
Finally, the deal also refers to the Russian-speaking minorities in Estonia and Latvia. Without naming the countries, the statement says EU membership is seen as a guarantee for the protection of human rights and "persons belonging to minorities."