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Contentious Russia-EU Summit Opens

(RFE/RL) November 24, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Helsinki, Finland, today for a summit with European Union leaders.

The summit was originally planned to include the launch of talks on a new EU-Russia partnership accord, but EU member Poland has blocked the negotiations to protest a Russian ban on imports of Polish meat and plant products.

MORE: Coverage in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.

The summit is also being held following Moscow's threat to ban all EU meat, fish, and dairy imports due to concerns over food safety in Romania and Bulgaria, which are due to join the EU on January 1.

Putin said on November 23 that the EU had not consulted with Russia on plans to accept Romania and Bulgaria as members, and that Moscow was worried that substandard meat from the two countries could reach Russia through EU member states.

(compiled from agency reports)

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