Poland gives red light to EU-Russian energy talks

Poland vetoed a European Union plan Monday to open talks with Russia aimed at broadening cooperation, especially in energy, saying Moscow should first end a ban on imports of Polish meat and plants.

The Polish move prevented the EU foreign ministers from finalizing the bloc's negotiating position for an economic cooperation deal with Russia to replace a far less ambitious 1997 accord.

It was hoped talks could begin at a Nov. 24 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

But Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga said Russia's ban on Polish imports violated its current cooperation accord with the EU and that in energy trade Moscow threatened Poland's "overall energy security."

She said Poland was "not willing to back off without a clear political signal" from Russia that the import ban would be lifted and that Moscow was committed to fair trade in energy under the next cooperation deal with the EU, the AP reports.

Polish Economy Minister Piotr Wozniak said Warsaw insisted Russia sign a transit protocol of the energy charter treaty. The pact is an international agreement signed in 1994 that governs cross-border trade and investment in the sector.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has consistently refused to sign the protocol, which would require Moscow to open its gas pipelines to third parties, or ratify the treaty. Entering the treaty would force Putin to end the supply monopoly of state-controlled gas company Gazprom, Reuters reports.

Poland's European Union partners on Monday urged a change in Warsaw 's hard-line opposition to a new trade and co-operation deal with Russia .

Warsaw must consider whether its veto of negotiations on a new EU-Russia deal can be a 'sufficient and final position,' German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters after a meeting with his counterparts in Brussels , monstersandcritics.com says.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov