Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday the country's accession to the World Trade Organization was a key condition for the signing of a partnership deal with the European Union.
The previous Russia-EU agreement expired in late 2007, but was automatically extended.
Further negotiations were stalled over disagreements with Poland and then Lithuania in 2007 and 2008 and frozen after the Russian-Georgian war. They were resumed in December 2008.
"We proceed from the fact that today, the most important condition for concluding the new basic agreement is Russia's accession to the WTO," Putin said after talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels.
Barroso said the new agreement was very important and would deepen the economic partnership between Russia and the EU.
The Russian government is still holding talks with 12 WTO countries on the supplies of meat products to the Russian market. Chief negotiator Maxim Medvedkov has said talks may be completed in May-June 2011.
Putin is in Brussels for the European Commission-Russia meeting and talks with the EU leadership.
BRUSSELS, February 24 (RIA Novosti)