Polish PM’s Moscow visit may address talks on new EU-Russia pact

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : The issue of negotiations on a new EU-Russia partnership pact may be discussed during Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s visit to Moscow on February 8, Poland’s foreign minister said on Monday.

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Poland has blocked Russia’s talks with the European Union on a strategic cooperation treaty, which expired last year, in protest against an embargo on Polish agricultural exports to the country. Russia resumed meat imports in December in a goodwill gesture to Warsaw’s new center-right government.

“I hope the trade embargo is in the past now. I believe this will allow us to launch negotiations on the agreement,” Radoslaw Sikorski told the press, adding that, “The issue is likely to be discussed during the Polish prime minister’s visit to Moscow.”

The 2005 ban – which Moscow said was over health concerns, but Warsaw called political – was a major source of tension between the former Communist allies under the previous conservative government in Poland. Tusk, who took office in November, has moved to improve ties with Russia.

In an earlier interview with RIA Novosti, Tusk said he would like to discuss further improvement in bilateral relations with Russia “as soon as possible.”

“You will be surprised at how fast Polish-Russian relations will improve,” he said.

Sikorsky is currently on a working visit to Moscow to pave way for the Polish premier’s upcoming visit to the Russian capital.

Other issues that have strained bilateral relations include Russia’s objections to Washington’s plans to deploy anti-missile defenses in Poland and Warsaw’s concerns about the Russian-German gas pipeline, which bypasses Poland and the former Soviet Baltic republics.

These issues are also expected to dominate Tusk’s talks in Moscow in February.