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EU: Ministers Criticize Russia Again Over Chechnya

Luxembourg, 11 April 2000 (RFE/RL) - The European Union has again criticized Russia over its military campaign in Chechnya but has also expressed hope in improving bilateral ties. EU foreign ministers are meeting for two-days of talks in Luxembourg, with Russia figuring prominently in talks. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is also in Luxembourg. Yesterday, the EU foreign ministers issued a statement deploring the humanitarian situation in Chechnya before talks with Ivanov. But the ministers also ruled out isolating Moscow and agreed there was no need for any new sanctions. They also said they had seen positive signals after discussing trade with Ivanov at talks intended to prepare for an EU-Russia summit in May.

Ivanov expressed hope the summit will "provide a new impulse in relations" between Russia and the EU.

The two sides approved a joint action plan for fighting organized crime. The EU said Russia has promised to tackle intellectual property crime.