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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poland Digs In Over Meat

WARSAW -- Poland vowed Thursday to block talks on a new EU-Russian strategic partnership until Russia lifts its ban on imports of Polish meat and other agricultural products.

On Wednesday, the European Commission suggested Poland might be ready to end the five-month veto before a planned EU-Russian summit on May 18, even if the Russian embargo remained in place.

But President Lech Kaczynski told a news conference that Poland's position was unchanged. "The next move belongs to Russia," he said. "Poland has not backed down. It's not possible to have an embargo and withdraw the veto."

The Kremlin's top adviser on relations with the European Union rejected Kaczynski's call for action from Moscow. He was quoted by Interfax as saying the EU -- not Russia -- must resolve the stalemate over the ban and veto.

"Warsaw's position, in essence, throws down a challenge to the policies and interests of the EU and consequently, as we have already said, the answer to the problem should be found within the EU itself," Sergei Yastrzhembsky said.

Russia banned Polish meat products 16 months ago, saying it had discovered fraudulent inspection certificates. Warsaw insists its foods are safe and that the ban is politically motivated.

Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga said Thursday that the ban was affecting relations between Poland and Russia at every level. "These bans have been imposed for political reasons rather than technical ones," she said. She said a summit between Polish President Lech Kaczynski and President Vladimir Putin could not take place until the ban was lifted.

"It is obvious that these kind of steps deteriorate relations, but we look forward to a considerable improvement after these matters -- both the Russian ban and the Polish veto -- are resolved," she said.

EU president Germany is making strenuous diplomatic efforts to break the deadlock and EU foreign ministers are set to discuss the issue at a meeting in Luxembourg on April 23.