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Putin tells Polish PM Russia wants to improve relations

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President Vladimir Putin told Poland's prime minister at talks in Moscow on Friday that Russia hopes to build a strong, businesslike relationship with its former Eastern Bloc ally.
MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin told Poland's prime minister at talks in Moscow on Friday that Russia hopes to build a strong, businesslike relationship with its former Eastern Bloc ally.

Donald Tusk is currently on his first to Russia since he came to power in Poland in November 2007.

At the start of meeting Friday evening in the Kremlin, President Putin said: "I believe that re-establishing normal, businesslike cooperation and dialogue, embracing partnership and mutual interest, will allow us to find solutions to any problems."

The Polish premier told Putin his visit to Moscow has already shown that both countries want to put past hostilities behind them. Earlier in the day he met with Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and First Deputy Premier Dmitry Medvedev, who is almost certain to be elected Russia's president next month.

The talks with Zubkov and Medvedev "clearly show that both sides are fed up with the 'cold' atmosphere," Tusk said.

Putin said recent bilateral disputes have flared up because of Moscow's "desire to protect our economic interests," but that they were "never politicized."

"We are glad you have deemed it possible to come to Moscow, and I want to say that both I and all my colleagues were ready to make a similar journey to Warsaw," the Russian leader said.

Putin said he hoped Tusk would appreciate the motives behind Russia's position on key issues. "Sometimes it is not connected directly with Poland, it is connected with wider problems in our relations with the European Union in general."

He cited agriculture as the most acute and politically charged problem, but insisted that "there is no need to seek any anti-Polish tendencies in our actions."

Previously frosty ties between Moscow and Warsaw have taken a turn for the better since center-right Tusk took office in Poland. Russia has since lifted its two-year embargo on Polish meat, and the sides have launched joint consultations on controversial U.S. missile shield plans for Poland.

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