French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Saturday that talks on a new partnership agreement between the European Union and Russia will resume in October, Russian news agencies reported.
Negotiations will reopen as soon as the Sept. 8 agreement between Russian and French leaders is put into implementation, Fillon told a joint news conference in Sochi after talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
"There are no reasons not to resume talks early next month," he said, adding that a strategic partnership between the EU and Russia is the best guarantee of peace in Europe and welfare in Russia.
Fillon also said his country would deploy 40 observers in the security zones adjacent to Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as part of the EU mission of 200 observers that will be sent to Georgia before Oct. 1.
Putin said Russia was ready to restart talks on the planned partnership pact.
However, he said Russia would not withdraw all its troops from Georgian territories along the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia before the EU observers arrive there.
The Russian premier also said Abkhazia and South Ossetia will decide on Russian troops' further deployment on their territories.
"The issue of (Russian) troops' deployment will be decided bilaterally in compliance with international law," he said.
Russia and Georgia fought a brief war last month following the latter's offensive to retake South Ossetia. Moscow subsequently recognized South Ossetia along with Abkhazia as independent states. Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Russia afterward.