As Alexei Gordeyev, the Minister of Agriculture of Russia, said yesterday at a press conference, the temporary ban on poultry imports from the U.S. is a technical decision of Russia's veterinary agencies, which has nothing to do with politics'. The minister further said, referring to Robert Zellick, the U.S. Trade Representative, who had alluded to the possibility the poultry ban might negatively affect Russia's joining the World Trade Organisation, 'The U.S. government is trying to turn everything into politics. The position of the U.S. government striving to protect American producers at all costs should be respected, yet what does the whole matter have to do with Russia's WTO membership?' The Minister pointed out that Russia's veterinaries, banning poultry imports, were only concerned with the safety of the country's consumers because 'There is no assurance the poultry we have been importing from the U.S. is of high enough quality. There have been a number of bad violations of veterinary requirements and the protocol, which is the reason for the temporary ban. Our domestic production of poultry is an industry with a shorter technological cycle and quite competitive'. The Minister assured that the measure would not result in the fluctuations of poultry prices in Russia. The problem is to be examined by the veterinary services of both countries and there is no telling how long the inquest will take. However, some time will be needed for examining the documents pertaining to the use by American poultry producers of antibiotics and other chemicals. The result will bear on the final decision as to the continuing or lifting the ban.