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Russia Drops Ban On Imports Of Egyptian Fruit, Vegetables

Combines harvest a wheat field near the village of Talniki. Russia is one of the world's top wheat exporters.

Russia announced it is dropping a brief import ban on fruits and vegetables from Egypt, after Cairo backed down on tough restrictions on wheat imports from Russia.

Russia's agriculture watchdog said on September 26 that experts from the two countries "came to an agreement to renew the delivery of all vegetables and fruit from Egypt to Russia, except for potatoes."

Russia had imposed the ban on sanitary grounds on September 22.

The dispute between the two key trading partners began in August when Egypt, the world's top importer of wheat, announced it would refuse Russian deliveries due to the presence of ergot, a common fungus that can be dangerous in large quantities.

But before the ban started, Egypt's cabinet backed down from the tough wheat-import restrictions, saying it would allow up to 0.05 percent ergot in grain shipments.

Moscow accused Egypt of using the issue as a "haggling" strategy at a time when Russia is primed for a bumper harvest of wheat. Egypt imports 11 million tons of wheat a year.

Egyptian citrus fruit exports to Russia are worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP and TASS