Russia: EU veg imports to resume on certificates

AP News
Posted: Jun 10, 2011 6:51 AM
Russia: EU veg imports to resume on certificates

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday Moscow will be ready to resume vegetable imports from the European Union once it receives documents certifying their safety.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso _ speaking after an EU-Russia summit in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod _ said Friday that the EU will send a form for issuing such certificates to Russia in the next few days.

"Our teams have agreed that the ban on vegetables from the EU will be lifted," Barroso said at a news conference. "The system of the certification of the vegetables will be put in place without any delay."

Russia has banned all fresh vegetable imports from the EU due to the E. coli outbreak that has killed 29 people and sickened 2,900 others. The EU has called the move disproportionate.

"We are ready to resume the shipments under guarantees of the EU authorities," Medvedev said at a news conference after the talks.

Gennady Onishchenko, Russia's top sanitary official who attended Friday's summit, told reporters that the EU has offered to provide Russia with safety certificates for specific vegetables from individual countries and Moscow would then allow the shipments to cross the border.

He wouldn't say when exactly the EU vegetable imports could resume, adding that it will depend on how quickly the EU sends the necessary papers.

"The ball is at their court," he said. "Everything depends on how hard they try."