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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poland May Block WTO Bid

Poland warned on Monday that it would block Russia's entrance to the World Trade Organization if Moscow did not cancel an embargo on exports of Polish meat and produce.

Russia imposed the ban in late 2005 after uncovering what it said were violations of food safety regulations. Polish officials maintain that the country's food quality standards meet EU norms and that the embargo is political.

"If Russia's position toward Poland doesn't change, we will have to vote against Russia's membership in WTO," Deputy Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski told a news conference in Moscow, Russian news agencies reported.

Poland also warned that it would continue to block a strategic EU-Russia agreement if the embargo was not lifted.

"Poland has to link these two issues -- the embargo and the signing of a new agreement between Russia and the European Union," Ardanowski said.

The deputy minister also said Poland had received a letter from Russia warning that a ban on milk and other dairy exports could begin Jan. 1. Ardanowski expressed surprise at the warning, given Russia's concerns about rising prices.

Relations between Poland and Russia have been frosty in recent years, while Moscow has blamed new EU members for impeding the development of EU-Russia relations. Poland joined the EU in 2004.