Sunday, 16 November 2008

Nicer in the South of France

The really important meeting that took place this weekend was in Nice. There the European Union and the Russians discussed mending the damage done by Georgian provocation and Russian opportunist reaction last August, and agreed to discuss political and economic partership between Russia and Europe, while the consideration of a pan-European security pact resumed. President Medvedev agreed to further talks to the satisfaction of Paris, Rome, Berlin and Madrid.

Russia has a key role in relations with Iran, and in moving forward the stabilisation of highly unstable nuclear states - Pakistan is the most frightening. Behind the extraordinary behaviour of the current Georgian government in attacking Russian peace keepers last August there was always a suspicion that in the dying days of his power Cheney and his faction were attempting to disturb the discussions of just what has been reasserted and renewed at Nice this weekend.

The threats of anti-missile shields and missile installations are lessening as the United States does not back up the president of Poland's assertion of assurances from America that the shield system will still be installed, and has to change his statements. Russia is reconsidering missile installations between Estonia and Poland.

The common ground mapped out between Russia - with large euro holdings - and the European Union on the financial crisis speaks of an agenda that is appropriate to both and furthers European and Russian coincident interests.

Taking in all this, and more of the detail, Washington's meeting with an outgoing President (and what never should be forgotten, Vice President), begins to look a bit like an attempt to make a final statement that covers up a waste of time.

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