Learning English - Words in the News
21 May, 2004 - Published 15:27 GMT
Today Moscow plays host to the first summit of Russia and the European Union since EU enlargement on May the first. On the official agenda are discussions to create a road map for cooperation in four key policy areas, dubbed the 'Common Spacer'. This report from Sarah Rainsford:
President Putin made joining the World Trade Organisation a priority. Now his negotiators are rushing to close a deal that would finally secure the EU's support. With that, the main obstacle to Russian admission would instantly disappear.
The two sides hope to finalise the deal in time for this EU-Russia summit. If they succeed, their announcement would eclipse all other items on the agenda.
Russia is the last major economy still outside the trade block. Membership negotiations have dragged on for years. Moscow's refusal to raise its domestic gas prices has been just one of many serious sticking points. But even there, it seems negotiators are searching now for an acceptable compromise. There has been widespread speculation that if the EU dropped its objections, Russia would do a deal on the Kyoto Protocol in return.
When questioned, a highly-placed source in the Kremlin denied there would be any such announcement imminently. But, he added, good news on the question of the WTO would certainly make matters with Kyoto far simpler.
Sarah Rainsford, BBC
close a deal
finalise the deal
domestic gas prices
serious sticking points
a highly-placed source