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    Putin to attend EU-Russia summit in Portugal

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin is to attend a EU-Russia summit on October 26 in Mafra, Portugal, during an official two-day visit to the country, a presidential spokesman said on Friday.

    MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is to attend a EU-Russia summit on October 26 in Mafra, Portugal, during an official two-day visit to the country, a presidential spokesman said on Friday.

    The summit is to address major issues in EU- Russian relations, including a new partnership and cooperation agreement, the EU, domestic Russian issues of concern to Europe, and issues of international importance, mainly Kosovo and Iran.

    The EU trade chief, Peter Mandelson, said earlier this week that Russia's admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) could lay the groundwork for closer economic integration with the European Union and resolve disputes with Europe over Polish meat and Russian timber exports.

    Relations between Moscow and Warsaw have been tense following Russia's imposition of a temporary ban on meat products and fruit and vegetable deliveries from Poland in November 2005 in a row over sanitary standards.

    In retaliation, Poland blocked talks on a new EU-Russia partnership agreement, and said it could bar Russia's entry to the WTO if Moscow failed to lift the meat embargo.

    Meanwhile, Finland said it could put a brake on Russia's accession to the WTO after Moscow announced it would raise export duties on timber up to 80% by 2011.

    Another point of contention between Europe and Russia is the EU's plan to limit Russian business operations in the European energy market.

    Moscow said it would ask the WTO to protect its interests if the EU passes laws restricting Russian energy companies' operations on its territory.

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