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Poland's new prime minister said on Saturday he might visit Moscow
Poland's new prime minister said on Saturday he might visit Moscow in the foreseeable future.

Poland's parliament voted earlier on Saturday to endorse the government of new Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Deputies of the lower house (Sejm) voted 238 to 204, with two abstentions, to support the new cabinet.

"You will be pleasantly surprised by how quickly Polish-Russian relations will improve," Donald Tusk told reporters.

He said it was too early to talk about a time frame for his visit to Moscow, but "that will happen very soon," he added.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said he would meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Brussels on December 6.

Tusk said earlier today that Polish-Russian relations could be improved within 24 hours.

"There are no doubts - and the first signals [from Moscow] indeed show that in the [past] 24 hours, these relations have been improved far more effectively than during the past two years," Tusk said.

He 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, 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.


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