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Russia: Chernomyrdin Says Russia Should Join EU

Brussels, 18 July 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernoyrdin called today for Russia to join the European Union (EU) in the near future.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels after meeting European Commission President Jacques Santer, Chernomyrdin said "Russia ought to become an EU member in the not-too-distant future." He added that Moscow's "entire relationship with the EU" is primarily aimed at achieving that goal.

The Russian prime minister is on a two-day visit to Brussels aimed at strengthening relations with EU. Prior to his arrival last night, Chernomyrdin said Russia and the EU have ever-increasing common interests and should establish a permanent, regular dialogue. But Chernomyrdin said he wanted the EU to eliminate anti-dumping measures which affect Russian goods. He told the Belgian newspaper "Le Soir" that Russia's "natural advantages" in producing some industrial goods cheaply must not be used as a pretext to impose blocks on Russian products entering the European market.