Germany Heads EU Mission To Russia, Ukraine And Serbia

BERLIN, Germany -- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier heads a European Union mission to Russia on Monday at the start of a three-day tour that will also take in Ukraine and Serbia.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

The EU's future relations with Russia in areas such as energy and trade will be the focal point of the delegation's talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Another key issue is likely to be the future status of Kosovo, a Serbian province that has been under UN administration since the end of the Balkans war in 1999.

UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari presented a blueprint for Kosovo's future on Friday, but Moscow has said it will only endorse a plan in the Security Council if it meets with Serbia's approval.

Taking part with Steinmeier in the talks is EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the bloc's foreign affairs commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

Portugal's Foreign Minister Luis Amado is also joining the EU troika.

Portugal takes over the rotating EU presidency from Germany in the second half of this year.

The mission travels to Ukraine on Tuesday to discuss details of a new cooperation agreement sanctioned by EU foreign ministers at their meeting in Brussels mid-January.

From Ukraine, the delegation travels to Serbia on Wednesday.

Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur