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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINE STARTS TALKS ON NEW ACCORD WITH EU. Ukraine and the European Union launched negotiations in Brussels on March 5 on a new cooperation accord to replace the current one, which expires in 2008, dpa and UNIAN reported. "This is an important step to have Ukraine come closer to us, and it will send a signal of our wish to deepen relations with Ukraine," EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said following a meeting with Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Veselovskyy. "I want to reiterate that this enhanced agreement will be drafted within the framework of European Neighborhood Policy," Ferrero-Waldner noted, adding that the new agreement will not prejudge any possible developments in relations between Ukraine and the EU. She said the new cooperation agreement could help lead to a deal on free trade between the EU and Ukraine. But she added that talks on this issue will begin only after Ukraine is accepted into the World Trade Organization. JM

UKRAINE LIFTS BAN ON MOLDOVAN MEAT IMPORTS. Almost a year after banning Moldovan meat, Ukraine's hygiene and veterinary authorities on March 3 gave permission for Moldovan meat to enter the country, the Moldovan news agency IPN reported. Ukraine's chief veterinary officer, Ivan Bisyuk, said that the decision followed an inspection in mid-January of meat-processing factories in Moldova. Moldova was one of three countries barred from exporting meat to Ukraine on March 26, 2006, after reported flaws in documentation. The other two were Belarus and Poland. Russia lifted a ban on Moldovan meat on January 25 after 20 months (see "RFE/RL Newsline," January 29, 2007). Despite the bans, IPN reported that Moldovan meat production rose 15 percent in 2006, to 98,000 tons. AG