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    Poland's new prime minister told parliament in his inaugural speech on Friday that relations with Russia must be improved, and that Moscow has shown its willingness to engage in dialogue.

    WARSAW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) - Poland's new prime minister told parliament in his inaugural speech on Friday that relations with Russia must be improved, and that Moscow has shown its willingness to engage in dialogue.

    In a three-hour speech to the legislature, which is set to hold a vote of confidence in the new Cabinet today, Donald Tusk outlined his government's policy priorities, touching on tax cuts, adopting the euro, and withdrawing troops from Iraq.

    On ties with Moscow, Tusk said: "Absence of dialogue does not serve the interests of either Poland or Russia. It harms the reputations of both countries."

    Relations between the countries, which have been consistently frosty since the fall of communism in Europe, hit new lows under Tusk's predecessor Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of right-wing conservative President Lech Kaczynski.

    The prime minister said: "I am convinced that the time for positive changes on this issue is now... The signals from our eastern neighbor confirm that this point of view is developing over there as well."

    Russia's two-year ban on Polish meat exports has proved a key stumbling block in bilateral relations, and prompted Warsaw to veto talks on a new cooperation pact between the European Union and Russia. However, since Tusk's victory in last month's elections, Warsaw has shown willingness to accommodate Russia's demands on the issue.

    Earlier in the month Poland invited Russian experts to inspect Polish meat factories to pave the way for a lifting of the ban, which was imposed over accusations that Poland was supplying poor-quality meat from third countries. On Thursday, Poland's agriculture minister reiterated that Warsaw is ready to negotiate.

    "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.

    On the controversial issue of Poland's involvement in Iraq military operations, the prime minister said that his government would ensure a complete withdrawal of troops by the end of next year, in line with his Civic Platform party's pre-election pledge.

    "In one year's time, I will announce to you here in this chamber that our military mission in Iraq is over," Tusk said. "Poles have been anticipating this decision," he added.

    However, President Lech Kaczynski, a staunch ally of Washington who fully supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has yet to approve the government's decision on a pullout. About 900 Polish servicemen are currently serving in the south of war-torn Iraq.

    The prime minister stressed that the process of withdrawing Polish servicemen would be coordinated with its allies, primarily the United States.

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