The Soviet Union and the European Common Market on Friday (18 February) reached agreement to allow 40 Russian boats to fish in EEC waters during the next six weeks.
The Soviet Union and the European Common Market on Friday (18 February) reached agreement to allow 40 Russian boats to fish in EEC waters during the next six weeks. The agreement was the result of the first-ever negotiations between the U.S.S.R. and the Common Market which centred on fishing rights. The talks, which began in Brussels on Wednesday (16 February) are regarded as a major diplomatic breakthrough by the EEC side.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Alexander Ishkov, the Soviet Minister for Fisheries, led the Russian team, while Dr. David Owen, the British Minister for Europe, headed the EEC delegation.
Mr. Ishkov made it clear during the initial discussions that his government had come to Brussels to negotiate with the Community. He said the Soviet Union had first approached Britain and Denmark on the possibility of bilateral fishing pacts, but had been told it must negotiate with the EEC. The negotiations involved a long-term fishing agreement between the two sides, allowing Soviet vessels to operate inside the EEC's 200-mile zone and giving Community boats access to Soviet waters. Mr. Ishkov and the EEC delegation also discussed problems arising from the system of licences for Soviet boats inside the Community zone. The Russians asked for licences for 40 boats, although the EEC had originally allotted them licences for only 27. Dr. Owen repeated the EEC warning, first issued on January 28, that the Soviet government was requested either to provide a list of vessels to be licensed, or to withdraw Soviet boats from the fishing zones of member states. Mr. Ishkov said the Soviet Union fully accepted a licensing system which it would in turn apply in its own waters. He then announced that the U.S.S.R. would operate a 200-mile national fishing zone in the Barents Sea from March first. Round one of the negotiations ended on Friday (18 February). Talks will start again at the end of the month.