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EU-Russia Summit Yields Little Fruit
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The 18th EU-Russia summit ended Friday in the Finnish capital of Helsinki, achieving little as the centerpiece of the summit -- launching negotiations for a new agreement on partnership and cooperation between the two sides -- aborted because of Poland's veto.

The EU and Russia had been planning to launch negotiations for a new EU-Russia partnership and cooperation agreement to replace the decade-old existing deal expected to expire next year. The new agreement will cover wide-ranging trade and energy policy issues.

Despite desperate last-minute effort by EU officials to lobby Poland to give up its stance, Poland insisted on blocking the launch of talks.

That led to the failure of the plan as the launch of negotiations for the deal requires a unanimous approval of all 25 EU member nations.

Poland demanded that Moscow lift its ban on importing Polish meat, saying the ban was politically motivated, but Russia refused to do so, citing food safety worries as the reason.

Warsaw said the import ban was its punishment from Moscow for embracing the West, while Russia has criticized Polish producers for violating hygiene laws and smuggling.

But Russia said there was no problem with the quality of Polish produce itself.

(Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2006)

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