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EU: Poland May be Ready to Lift Veto on EU-Russia Talks

European Union officials say Poland has indicated it is ready to lift a veto on talks about a new EU-Russia partnership agreement. Warsaw blocked the talks last year, in response to a Moscow ban on imports of Polish meat and other agricultural products.

European Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger said in Brussels Wednesday the commission, following recent contacts, had indeed received indications that Poland will lift its veto. EU negotiators discussed the veto with their Polish counterparts last week.

Poland blocked partnership talks in November, after Russia banned all Polish meat imports because of what Moscow said were questionable safety standards applied by Polish meat inspectors.

Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency, voiced caution about the pending deal. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Poland's verbal consent is an important "first step," while noting that nothing has been signed.

The existing EU - Russian pact, which covers energy, trade and human rights, expires this year. EU authorities said in November the existing pact would be extended until a new deal is signed.

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