Russia moves to resolve Polish meat dispute

Russia’s leader has urged the Agriculture Ministry to intensify talks on banned Polish meat imports to Russia. Meanwhile, the European Union has already expressed their desire to start talks with Russia on lifting the ban.

Russia imposed the ban at the end of 2005, citing cases of forged certificates as its reasons.

The EU executive body expressed its hope to start talks with Russia on lifting the embargo on Polish meat supplies to Russia. The European Commission's Health Spokesman, Philip Todd, has said a proposal for ‘technical negotiations’ had been sent to Russia's Agriculture Minister.

Russian President Vladimir Putin underlined that the issue needed to be resolved in a friendly manner.

“We must stop politicising these issues. The problem must be resolved professionally, in a friendly way as partners would do. We must take into account both the interests of our partners and those of Russian farmers because there are some 40 MLN people involved in agriculture in Russia,” Mr Putin said.

This may prove to be a major development toward improving Russia's relations with the European Union which seemed to be at low ebb, following the Russia-EU summit in Samara last week.

Poland has used its veto to block talks between Russia and the EU because of the ban, which Poland feels was politically motivated. It was one of the major stumbling blocks at the summit, keeping the participants from reaching an agreement on the bilateral energy and trade treaty.

The treaty which is in force at the moment covers Russia's energy supplies to Europe and will expire at the end of 2007.