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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin Optimistic on Poland

A senior Kremlin aide welcomed the upcoming Polish government reshuffle Wednesday and said the change might finally allow Moscow to reach a new EU partnership agreement.

"We couldn't talk with Poland's previous government," Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the Kremlin's adviser on EU relations, said at a news conference.

Tough-talking Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Wednesday that his government would resign Nov. 5, after his party lost weekend elections. The leader of the victorious Civic Platform party, Donald Tusk, has called restoring good relations with Russia a priority.

Krzysztof Lisek, an aide to Tusk, said the new government would try to resolve disputes, including a Russian ban on Polish meat, through one-on-one talks. "If they can be solved on the bilateral level, then there's no need for the European Commission to be involved," Lisek said by telephone from Barcelona.

Yastrzhembsky said Poland had mistakenly over-politicized the Russian meat ban and turned to Brussels over a bilateral issue. Russia says the Polish meat is of poor quality. Yastrzhembsky praised Hungary, which worked directly with Russia to resolve a recent ban on Hungarian poultry over similar quality concerns. The ban was lifted this week.

Russian and European Union officials are meeting for a summit in Portugal on Friday, just a month before a 10-year cooperation and partnership agreement on trade, energy and foreign policy runs out. Poland, frustrated over the meat ban, blocked talks on a new agreement at the last two summits.

Yastrzhembsky said Moscow welcomed a new Polish government with "cautious optimism," while foreign diplomats stationed in Moscow were relieved. "It's really noticeable how much their mood has improved," he said.

But a European diplomat said the vote had not had an "immediate impact on the mood" of diplomats in Moscow. Speaking on customary condition of anonymity, he said the diplomats were working to resolve issues but the work had "started already before the elections as a result of slight change in policy."