Polish veto sinks EU-Russia summit

EU tries to find a diplomatic solution that would secure Russian energy supplies.

    Russian officials say they are ready to counter any
    EU challenge to Putin over his human-rights record

    A senior Polish official said on Friday that Warsaw believed a compromise could still be found in the meat row and that the veto might be withdrawn within days.
     
    EU officials said that even without the launch of talks on a new partnership agreement, setting out the broad principles of EU-Russian relations, there were other weighty issues on the summit agenda.
     
    Negotiation
     
    Asked about the state of EU-Russia relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the external affairs commissioner said: "I do not think they are messed up ... I mean there are so many issues. It's not only about launching a negotiation."
     
    Russian officials shrugged off the lack of an EU negotiating mandate. "It's their problem," said Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's ambassador to the bloc.
     
    Vladimir Putin was to meet EU chiefs in the 19th century House of the Estates, a former parliament building near Helsinki's Baltic sea front.
     
    They were to hold a joint news conference at the end of the summit at 3.30pm (1330 GMT).
     
    Russian officials said that if EU chiefs challenged Putin over his human-rights record he would counter by pointing to the treatment of ethnic Russians in new EU members Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
     
    Moscow says they suffer discrimination.
     
    Punishment
     
    Poland was the first new member state to use its veto to block talks with a third country, and diplomats said many EU governments were exasperated by Warsaw's tactics.
     
    Russia said it had legitimate concerns about the origins of meat supplied via Poland, but Warsaw says the import ban was punishment for turning its back on its former imperial master Russia and embracing the West.
     
    Moscow has threatened to escalate the meat row by banning all meat imports from the EU over concerns about food safety in Romania and Bulgaria, which are soon to join the bloc.
     
    But the Russian delegation in Helsinki played down the threat and Solana said he was confident a solution could be agreed to avoid a ban.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.