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Continuity, rather than revolutionary zeal, is expected to characterise the Czech Presidency's policy towards Russia. Following a turbulent period in EU-Russia relations with eruption of the Georgia crisis in August, Prague intends to calm down emotions and focus on sorting out unfinished business with Moscow.

"It is going to be a very result-oriented Presidency with regard to EU-Russia relations," a Czech diplomat told Europolitics. "We intend to concentrate on two elements: talks on the new partnership agreement and Russia's full compliance with the Sarkozy-Medvedev ceasefire agreement. We believe that Moscow has not yet withdrawn to the pre-conflict lines as some extra troops are still stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia," he added.

The Czech Republic is emphasising that its attitude towards Russia will be different from the one adopted by France. "We want to balance the two extreme stances within the EU by adopting a...

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