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    Poland maintains veto on Russia-EU talks - Russian official

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    Warsaw is refusing to lift its veto on Russia-EU talks on a new partnership deal, demanding that Moscow first end its embargo on Polish meat imports, Russia's envoy to the European Union said Monday.

    BRUSSELS, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Warsaw is refusing to lift its veto on Russia-EU talks on a new partnership deal, demanding that Moscow first end its embargo on Polish meat imports, Russia's envoy to the European Union said Monday.

    Moscow banned meat imports from Poland in November 2005 over the EU nation's alleged violations of veterinary regulations and health concerns. Warsaw blocked the start of talks on a new Russia-EU cooperation deal in late 2006 in protest against the move.

    "The Poles are still linking their veto on talks with the meat imports issue," Vladimir Chizhov said. "The subject will be addressed this week."

    He said experts from the European Commission, Russia, and Poland will meet on January 17 in Warsaw to check measures taken by Poland to correct the violations of veterinary regulations.

    "If they [the experts] are satisfied [with measures taken by Poland], we will take all necessary steps to resume imports of meat and meat products from Poland," Chizhov said.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said in November last year that Moscow had no claims against Polish meat, but objected to products of third countries imported via Poland.

    However, Poland sees the embargo as retaliation for its support of the "orange revolution" in Ukraine in late 2004, when Western-leaning political forces came to power in the former Soviet state.

    Poland's conditions for the launch of talks on replacing the current Russia-EU partnership and cooperation agreement, set to expire in late 2007, also include Moscow's ratification of the Energy Charter, and a transit protocol to the Charter, which would force Russia to liberalize its oil and gas sector.

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