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EU Says Russia Cites Progress in Polish Meat Inspections

The European Union says Russia has acknowledged progress by Polish inspectors in a meat ban dispute that is holding up a Russian-EU economic partnership deal.

EU consumer protection spokesman Philip Tod said Thursday that a letter from Russian officials is quite positive about the progress Poland is making. But Tod said the letter also raises a number of issues on which clarification is needed and that the EU is preparing an official response to the Russians.

EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou plans to meet with Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev next week to discuss the issue.

Russia barred Polish meat imports in 2005 because of what it called health concerns. Poland calls the Russian ban political because of Warsaw's pro-Western policies.

Poland has vetoed the start of talks on a Russian-EU economic partnership agreement over the ban.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.