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Poland says ready for talks with Russia on ending meat ban

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Warsaw is ready for talks on ending Russia's two-year embargo on Polish meat supplies, the country's agriculture minister said on Thursday.
WARSAW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) - Warsaw is ready for talks on ending Russia's two-year embargo on Polish meat supplies, the country's agriculture minister said on Thursday.

"The Polish side is ready for talks with Russia on the issue of lifting the embargo and resuming the export of agricultural produce to Russia, on the condition that all rights implied by our EU membership are respected," Marek Sawicki told journalists.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday after talks with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi that a visit by Sawicki to Russia would be helpful in solving the meat dispute.

"We believe the Polish agriculture minister's visit to Russia would be appropriate to resolve the issue of permitting certain enterprises' agricultural goods," he said.

Russia's ban was enforced over accusations that Poland was supplying poor-quality meat from third countries. In retaliation, Poland vetoed talks on a new Russia-EU partnership and cooperation agreement.

The ban on Polish meat has proved a major source of tension between the countries. Center-right politician Donald Tusk's victory in Polish parliamentary elections last month prompted hopes that Warsaw would take a more accommodating stance on disputes with Russia, including on the meat issue.

Poland recently agreed to admit Russian experts to its meat factories, signaling a reversal of the government's position under former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The government had previously insisted that Moscow first lift its embargo.

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