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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Official: No Ban On Fowl

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's chief of staff, Vladimir Babichev, said Tuesday that Russia would not ban imports of U.S. poultry and slammed acting Agriculture Minister Alexander Zaveryukha.

"Deliveries [of U.S. poultry] will continue," Babichev said, adding there was no government decree banning U.S. fowl exports to Russia and saying Zaveryukha, whose ministry had called for a ban beginning March 16, was "not the government."

Babichev, whose official title is head of the government's administration, was speaking to reporters after a news conference held by members of Chernomyrdin's Our Home Is Russia party.

"After the conversation with [U.S. Vice President Al] Gore, this topic has been liquidated," he said, referring to a telephone conversation last week between Gore and Chernomyrdin, which Chernomyrdin's office said had resolved the issue.

He said the U.S. side was fulfilling demands that U.S. poultry exporters meet Russian health certification standards. "The U.S. side is currently correcting the problems," he said.

Russia's chief food inspector, Vyacheslav Avilov, said Monday that Moscow still intended to cease granting licenses to U.S. poultry exporters to Russia on March 16 if health norms were not met. Avilov is also head of the Agriculture Ministry's veterinary department.

"Zaveryukha -- and especially the Agrarian Party -- this is not the government," Babichev said. "There are no government decrees banning U.S. poultry."

Zaveryukha, the Agrarian Party and the Agriculture Ministry represent the farm lobby, which has sharply criticized the level of imported food in Russia.

Russian farm officials have said U.S. poultry contains diseases, a criticism Washington has said stems from spurious statistical criteria.