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Russian lawmaker calls Polish leader's comments confrontational

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A senior Russian lawmaker said on Friday recent comments by Poland's president alleging refusal to unblock Russia-EU partnership talks was evidence of western confrontation against Moscow.
MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Russian lawmaker said on Friday recent comments by Poland's president alleging refusal to unblock Russia-EU partnership talks was evidence of western confrontation against Moscow.

Reuters cited Lech Kaczynski as saying on Wednesday that Warsaw was unlikely to lift its veto on negotiations for a new treaty between the EU and Russia until NATO member states agreed to allow Georgia and Ukraine to join the alliance's Membership Action Plan.

The Polish leader later told a news conference in Helsinki: "I deny that I linked the issue of the NATO Membership Action Plan for Georgia and Ukraine with EU talks on new partnership and cooperation treaty with Russia."

"In my opinion, Kaczynski seems to have somehow voiced an important idea that in the views of a certain number of European politicians, including Kaczynski himself, there is a concept of some kind of united West on the one side and Russia on the other," said Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the State Duma's international affairs committee.

Kosachyov said it was "alarming" that under the notion 'united West' politicians meant Western and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Georgia and all other NATO and EU membership candidates.

Kosachyov said that Ukraine's accession to NATO would destroy the country's security cooperation with Russia, as well as the bilateral defense partnership between the two countries.

"Ukraine's accession to NATO will sever bilateral security cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, which was established in the Soviet era through the integration of relevant bodies and is continuing to evolve," the lawmaker said.

At a summit in Bucharest late last week, NATO members decided to postpone until December offering Georgia and Ukraine the chance to join the NATO Membership Action Plan, a key step toward full membership.

Kosachyov said it was currently up to the EU to decide on the start of negotiations with Russia on a new partnership and cooperation agreement. He said the EU had not yet issued a mandate for the start of partnership talks, which prompted him to suspect that some EU members were not ready to recognize Russia as "a self-sufficient partner."

"Russia has long been ready to start the talks," he said, adding that a delegation to hold the negotiations was established back in 2006.

Poland vetoed the EU partnership talks over Moscow's 2005 embargo on Polish meat. Russia said low quality meat from third countries was being imported under the cover of Polish produce. Warsaw called the ban political. Russia resumed meat imports in December 2007.

The two countries have improved relations overall since a new center-right government came to power in the former Warsaw Bloc country late last year.

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