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Russia lifts ban on Belarus dairy imports


MOSCOW, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has lifted its controversial ban on imports of Belarusian dairy products, and the first deliveries will cross the border on June 18, Moscow's chief sanitary official said Wednesday.

The ban imposed earlier this month on one of Belarus's key exports sparked a furious reaction in Minsk, which called it "economic discrimination" and boycotted a security summit in Moscow in protest.

"We have signed a protocol satisfying both the Belarusian and Russian sides now," Gennady Onishchenko told reporters after talks with the agriculture and health ministers of Belarus.

He said the first goods will be crossing the border on Thursday morning.

Russia had banned imports of more than 1,000 types of dairy products from Belarus, saying producers in the ex-Soviet republic had failed to comply with new Russian standards introduced last year.

In a tit-for-tat move, Belarus toughened customs controls on its land border with Russia as of Wednesday, but immediately backed down after Russia lifted its ban.

The deputy head of the Belarusian Customs Committee Sergei Borisyuk told reporters that the decision to scrap the new controls "was made in view of information from Russia on the unhindered movement of Belarusian goods to Russia."

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