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Poland Blocks Launch Of EU-Russia Partnership Talks

a section of the Baltic pipeline northeast of Moscow (epa) November 13, 2006 -- Poland has blocked the launch of talks on a new partnership agreement between the European Union and Russia.

Poland, at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels today, said Russia should make commitments on energy supplies by ratifying the EU Energy Charter before talks can begin.

It also insisted Russia lift a yearlong ban on Polish food imports.

The EU had hoped to launch negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement at a November 24 summit with Russia in Helsinki.

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told reporters today that discussions will continue in the coming weeks. She said the current agreement with Russia, which runs until the end of the year, could be extended.

The EU has been trying unsuccessfully to convince Russia to sign the Energy Charter for several years.

(Reuters, dpa)

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