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Russian President Meets With EU Leaders

Putin (file photo) arrived for talks this morning 25 November 2004 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has started meeting with European Union leaders today in the Netherlands.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who holds the rotating EU Presidency, welcomed Putin, but the two men made no comments before heading into the meeting.

This latest twice-a-year summit comes as Moscow and Brussels are struggling to forge a new partnership agreement. More than half of Russia's exports go to the expanded EU, and the EU is heavily dependent on Russian energy.

The talks will likely include the disputed presidential election in Ukraine, but Putin's EU-relations aide said that is not their primary issue. The EU criticized the election won by the candidate backed by the Kremlin.