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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

German Minister in Last-Ditch Visit

BRUSSELS -- Germany's foreign minister will make a last-minute dash to Moscow on Tuesday to try to rescue an EU summit with Russia that threatens to degenerate into acrimony over problems ranging from Polish meat to Kosovo.

German officials said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose country holds the rotating European Union presidency, will hold crisis talks with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a growing list of disputes involving Russia and new EU members that were once in the Soviet orbit.

"He will appeal for a return to reason and a return to the understanding that both sides depend on each other in many respects," Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Pl?tner said.

Steinmeier told reporters at a regular EU foreign ministers' meeting that the summit near Samara on Friday would be difficult, but both sides needed each other.

"We are going to try right up to the summit to resolve the conflict concerning Polish meat. I can't say whether we'll be successful," he said.

Germany said Chancellor Angela Merkel and Putin agreed by telephone Sunday that they both wanted to make the summit a success, but the overall mood is more one of damage limitation.

"The Russian president emphasized that we have an interest in making progress on the many, often controversial issues," government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said.

There was no agreement at Monday's EU foreign ministers' session on a negotiating mandate to start talks with Moscow on the new partnership pact, diplomats said.

That never seemed likely after Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev reaffirmed Moscow's reasons for applying the 17-month ban on meat and other farm produce from Poland, which insists it is politically motivated.