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Contentious EU - Russia Summit Ends Amid Disagreements


Russian and European Union leaders clashed over human rights issues Friday at a contentious summit where police prevented opposition protests from taking place.

The meeting near Russia's resort city of Samara produced no agreements on trade, energy, security and other issues dividing the EU and Russia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Russia for preventing opposition activists from traveling to Samara to stage a protest.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the actions were intended to prevent violence. He then questioned human rights practices of western democracies.

Putin also accused Baltic countries Latvia and Estonia of persecuting their Russian-speaking minorities.

The European Union and Russia remain at odds over Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province. The EU has expressed alarm at Moscow's threats to veto a UN resolution granting Kosovo supervised independence.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told British media that those who think the province's future can be decided by the EU, Russia, and the United States are burdened by colonial instincts.

German Chancellor Merkel, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, stressed the bloc's solidarity.

They said Estonia's and Latvia's disputes with Moscow are Europe's problems. The two also expressed support for Poland, demanding that Moscow end its embargo on Polish meat imports.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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