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Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 19:01 GMT 20:01 UK
Play fair, Blair tells Russians
Tony Blair
Tony Blair is in Lahti in Finland for the European Union summit
Prime Minister Tony Blair has called on Russia to play by the rules with Europe over the trade of oil and gas supplies.

European Union (EU) leaders at the Lahti summit in Finland want to ensure access to vast Russian energy reserves.

Ahead of an EU summit dinner with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Mr Blair said there would have to be clear rules that are obeyed on both sides.

An Energy Charter was agreed in 1991 but never ratified by the Russians, who are seeking more access to EU markets.

'Important relationship'

Mr Blair said: "The Energy Charter will be raised with President Putin this evening.

It is important that if we have a business relationship based on energy, it is a business relationship and not a political relationship
Tony Blair

"If we are going to have this two-way trade with Russia, there have to be clear rules that are obeyed on both sides. It will be important to get a sense of that from President Putin this evening."

He said the EU was in agreement that the energy relationship with Russia should be based on "clear rules and principles".

"Everyone knows the importance of the EU-Russia relationship," he said.

"It is important that if we have a business relationship based on energy, it is a business relationship and not a political relationship."

'Catastrophic tipping point'

Mr Blair said the UK had to have a diversity of energy supply.

"Britain is going to lose its self-sufficiency. That is why it is important that we replace our power stations and make the big drive on security of supply and climate change," he said.

Earlier, the prime minister said in a letter ahead of the summit that the world faced a "catastrophic tipping point" over climate change and Europe must lead the world in changing to a low-carbon economy.

The summit backed his call for an extension of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme - which limits CO2 emissions from industry - to take in transport, including aviation.

The EU reaffirmed its support for a United Nations peacekeeping force going into the troubled region of Darfur in Sudan.


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