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Poland is ready for talks on ending Russia's two-year
Poland is ready for talks on ending Russia's two-year meat ban at any time and without any prior conditions, the agriculture minister said Wednesday.

Russia's ban was enforced over accusations that Poland was supplying poor-quality meat from third countries. In retaliation, Poland vetoed talks on a new Russia-EU partnership and cooperation agreement.

"I am ready to come to Moscow for talks with Russia's agriculture minister at any time," Marek Sawicki said. "Warsaw does not set any preliminary conditions. We must end the protracted 'meat conflict' as soon as possible."

At a meeting in Brussels, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou, proposed that the Polish agriculture minister should go to Moscow tentatively in January.

"We think this visit could take place earlier - already in December 2007," Sawicki said. "And at the meeting of Polish and Russian foreign ministers in Brussels on December 6 will also raise the issue of lifting Russia's embargo on Polish meat."

The ban on Polish meat has proved a major source of tension between the countries. Center-right politician Donald Tusk's victory in Polish parliamentary elections last month prompted hopes that Warsaw would take a more accommodating stance on disputes with Russia, including on the meat issue.

Poland recently agreed to admit Russian experts to its meat factories, signaling a reversal of the government's position under the former prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The government had previously insisted that Moscow first lift its embargo.


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