Poland denies lifting veto on Russia-EU agreement talks

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : The Polish Foreign Ministry denied on Tuesday having lifted its veto on talks on a new Russia-EU partnership agreement that expired last December.

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“The words of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski have been misinterpreted. The information that Poland has lifted its veto is false,” a spokesperson for the Polish Foreign Ministry, Piotr Paszkowski, said.

Earlier reports said that Poland had lifted its veto.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Dmitry Rupel, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, had earlier stated that Warsaw had lifted its objections to the talks and reached an agreement with Russia.

Poland vetoed the talks after Moscow imposed an embargo on Polish meat in November 2005, claiming that meat from third countries was being imported under the cover of Polish produce. Russia resumed meat imports in December 2007.

The 2005 ban – which Moscow said was over health concerns, but Warsaw called political – was a major source of tension between the two countries under the previous conservative government in Poland.

However, after a new center-right government came to power in the former Warsaw Pact country late last year, both sides expressed their willingness to improve relations.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who visited Moscow at the beginning of February, earlier said that Poland wants Russia to “become a more important partner than it has been up to now,” in the context of “economics, politics and security.”

Last year, Russia and the EU extended a Partnership and Cooperation agreement by a year, and are hoping to reach a new deal by the end of 2008.