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Russia, EC fail to resume Polish meat supplies to Russia - 1

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MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's veterinary watchdog and the European Commission have failed to reach an agreement to resume Polish meat and agricultural imports to Russia, the watchdog press secretary said Tuesday.

"We were unable to reach an agreement," Alexei Alexeyenko said, adding that Russia had requested additional information from the Poles following recent checks in Poland.

Russia's ban on meat and other agricultural imports from Poland led the EU newcomer late last year to veto negotiations on a new trade and energy cooperation deal between Moscow and Brussels to replace the current partnership accord, which expires at the end of 2007.

Russia imposed an embargo on Polish meat in November 2005 claiming that meat from third countries was being imported as Polish produce.

Poland sees Russian sanctions as retaliation for Warsaw's backing of the 2004 "orange revolution" in Ukraine, which brought pro-Western forces to power in the country.

Relations between Russia and Poland, a former Communist Bloc country that joined the EU in May 2004, have deteriorated dramatically in the past few years.

A string of recent diplomatic spats has increased mutual distrust between the two neighbors, prompting many politicians in Warsaw to conclude that the Kremlin is using the embargo on Polish imports as a political weapon.

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