Russia says preparing to lift Lithuanian dairy ban: RIA

MOSCOW Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:48am EST

A worker loads a packs of milk at a milk plant in Minsk, June 17, 2009. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

A worker loads a packs of milk at a milk plant in Minsk, June 17, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is preparing to lift a suspension it imposed on the import of Lithuanian dairy products in October, Russian news agency RIA reported on Tuesday.

The head of Russian's consumer protection agency indicated that Russia and Lithuania had resolved differences in talks.

"As of today, based on the results of the meeting, documents allowing for the delivery of (dairy) products are being drafted, state-run RIA quoted Rospotrebnadzor's acting director, Anna Popova, as saying.

Russia halted dairy imports from Lithuania on October 7, putting pressure on the cheese-producing European Union member before a summit there on November 28-29 at which Ukraine had been expected to sign a trade deal with the EU.

Ukraine baulked at the last minute, shelving preparations for the EU deal and instead pledging to forge closer ties with Russia. Russia last week agreed a $15 billion bailout for Kiev and promised to cut the price it pays for gas.

Lithuania had threatened to refer Moscow to the World Trade Organisation over what its president called "trade obstacles."

Russia has been criticized for using trade restrictions as a political lever. Similar import bans in the past decade have included Georgian wine and mineral water, Moldavian wine and vegetables from the European Union.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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