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Archive for Poland

Newsline: Israeli and Polish top diplomats meet to restore ties

The Israeli and Polish foreign ministers met Wednesday in a step that they hailed as a breakthrough in restoring a relationship that has been badly damaged due to bickering over Holocaust memory over the past five years. “I came here to restore the relationship between our countries, and I found in you, my distinguished colleague, a trusted partner,” Cohen said at a news conference alongside Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, whom he referred to more than once as his friend. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/22/poland-israel-cohen-warsaw-ghetto-anniversary-holocaust/b7421826-c8b5-11ed-9cc5-a58a4f6d84cd_story.html) The ministers signed an agreement that they say will allow for the resumption of Israeli youth trips to Poland, one of several points of contention that have led to bitter feelings between the two countries. The visit by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is the first at that level since 2018, and Poland’s Foreign Ministry says it will be followed by Israeli President Isaac Herzog attending observances next month for the 80th anniversary of the World War II Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Newsline: Poland summons U.S. ambassador

The Polish Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. envoy about the actions of a television station, it said in a statement without naming the station or specifying what it believes it did wrong. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognizes that the potential effects of these actions are identical to the goals of the hybrid war aimed at leading to divisions and tensions in Polish society,” the ministry said in a statement. “Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the U.S. Ambassador to inform him about the situation and its consequences in weakening the ability of the Republic of Poland to deter a potential adversary and its resistance to threats.” (https://neuters.de/world/poland-summons-us-envoy-over-tv-stations-unspecified-actions-2023-03-09/) Poland has previously been at odds with the United States over Discovery-owned news channel TVN24, which is critical of the government. TVN24 recently contributed to stirring a heated debate in Poland by airing a documentary alleging late John Paul II knew about sexual abuses by Catholic clergy before becoming pope. It was not immediately clear if the issue the U.S. ambassador was summoned over concerned TVN24. The U.S. embassy in Warsaw had no immediate comment. A Polish foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment further.

Newsline: Russia’s top diplomat disinvited from European multilateral meeting

Polish officials have been accused of disinviting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov from a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Lodz, Poland, next week, just days after questions arose over whether Russia’s war in Ukraine is spilling over into neighboring Poland. Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, accused Poland, the current OSCE chair, of railroading European national security by barring Lavrov from leading a Russian delegation at the 29th Ministerial Council. “Nowadays, the Polish chairmanship is practically demolishing this negotiating venue when they physically prevent a delegation from taking part and speaking,” Zakharova said, according to TASS. (https://news.yahoo.com/russian-fury-top-putin-official-190952830.html) The Polish Foreign Ministry notified the Kremlin about Lavrov not being welcome via diplomatic note, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry said. Poland has also blocked Russian legislators from joining in on the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly meeting this week in Warsaw, according to local Polish news outlet, TVP World. Lavrov is not allowed to attend because he is sanctioned, according to Poland.

Newsline: NATO ambassadors to meet on Poland’s request

NATO ambassadors will meet on Wednesday at the request of Poland on basis of the alliance’s Article 4, two European diplomats told Reuters after an explosion in Poland close to the Ukrainian border reportedly caused by a stray Russian missile. One of the diplomats said the alliance would act cautiously and needed time to verify how exactly the incident happened. (https://news.yahoo.com/nato-meet-wednesday-request-poland-221946732.html) According to article 4 of the alliance’s founding treaty, members can raise any issue of concern, especially related to the security of a member country.

Newsline: Poland summons Israeli ambassador

Polish foreign ministry has summoned Israel’s ambassador for Monday, a Polish deputy minister said on Friday, after the diplomat criticised the government for not allowing student trips from Israel to visit Holocaust memorial sites in Poland. Holocaust education trips for Israeli students to Poland had been suspended earlier this year over the fact that armed guards accompanied the students on the trips, a Polish foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed to Reuters. “I regret that Ambassador @YacovLivne has chosen to communicate with @MSZ_RP through the media and public speeches – in addition misleading the public as to why the trips are not taking place,” Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski tweeted on Friday. “To clarify the situation, he will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.” Jablonski added that Poland’s position regarding the trips had not changed since August. “We are ready to welcome (Israeli) groups even from tomorrow. Security rules should be the same as in other similar countries, i.e. no armed protection. Poland should be treated according to the same standard,” Jablonski tweeted. (https://whtc.com/2022/10/14/polish-foreign-ministry-summons-israeli-ambassador-over-student-trip-comments/) Livne criticised the Polish government for not allowing the student trips earlier this week during a commemoration of an uprising at Nazi extermination camp Sobibor, according to Polish media reports. In July, Poland and Israel vowed to improve relations that had deteriorated after Warsaw introduced a law last year limiting the ability of Jews to recover World War Two properties, saying they would mutually restore ambassadors.

Newsline: Polish Ambassador to Israel Fires Two Employees for Protesting Polish Abortion Ban

Poland’s ambassador to Israel fired two employees of the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv for protesting increased restrictions on abortions in Poland. (https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-polish-ambassador-to-israel-fires-two-employees-for-protesting-polish-abortion-law-1.9278765) The two employees carried signs decrying the right-wing, conservative Polish ruling party, called Law and Justice (PiS), in response to a court ruling in Poland last week that abortion, even in cases of fetal defects, is illegal. The employees carried signs against the PiS ruling party, apparently crossing a line in their ‘misuse of religion and ethnicity’.

Newsline: Poland approves new German ambassador after long delay

Poland has accepted the appointment of a new German ambassador after an unusual delay of three months, reportedly rooted in Polish grievances over World War II. Polish media have reported that the country’s conservative and nationalist ruling party, Law and Justice, resisted accepting Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven as an ambassador because his father served as a military officer for Nazi Germany during the war. The three-month delay in Poland approving the agrément, or official diplomatic approval, for von Loringhoven had caused some tensions between Poland and Germany. The ties were already strained by other issues, including the Polish government’s anger over critical coverage of President Andrzej Duda in some independent media outlets with partial German ownership. Jürgen Hardt, a foreign policy spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc in parliament, welcomed the step but called it “overdue.” He noted that the news reached him on the anniversary of the start of the war. “It remains incomprehensible to us that the Polish government delayed the granting of the agrément for so long,” Hardt said. “Ambassador Freytag von Loringhoven is an experienced diplomat who has worked all his life for a close and trusting cooperation with Poland.” (https://www.startribune.com/poland-approves-new-german-ambassador-after-long-delay/572281902/) Former Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, who resigned last month, called the long delay “strange” in an interview with daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita. Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, a Polish deputy foreign minister, announced late Monday that von Loringhoven had been accepted. He stressed that Germans must be aware of “a special kind of Polish sensitivity, resulting from the fact that the crimes of World War II remain a great unhealed wound in the minds of the Polish nation all the time.” Rzeczpospolita had reported that the ambassador’s appointment was being held up by Law and Justice party leader Jarosław Kaczyński, who opposed von Loringhoven representing Germany in Poland due to the role his father played in the war. The ambassador’s father, Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, prepared the daily military briefing in Adolf Hitler’s bunker from 1944 to the end of April 1945 as an adjutant to the Army Chief of Staff, according to German news agency dpa. Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven was born in 1956, more than 11 years after the war. He has served as deputy head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, and as Germany’s ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Newsline: Poland Summons Belarus Ambassador Over ‘Unfounded Accusations’

Poland said on Thursday it had summoned the Belarus ambassador to protest at “unfounded accusations” after Belarusian media said President Alexander Lukashenko had accused Warsaw of plotting to seize part of the country if its crisis worsened. “With regard to the repeated unfounded accusations from Belarus leaders towards Poland, the … Belarus ambassador (was) summoned to the (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) today at 1500,” Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said on Twitter. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-08-27/poland-summons-belarus-ambassador-over-unfounded-accusations) Lukashenko has accused Poland of planning to take over the Grodno region bordering Poland and Lithuania if Belarus falls apart, Belarus’s state news agency Belta reported. Belta on Thursday quoted Lukashenko as saying he had dispatched some armed forces to the western border with Poland. “You see these statements saying that if Belarus falls apart, Grodno Oblast will become part of Poland. They are already saying it openly, they are dreaming about it. They will not succeed, I know it for sure,” Belta quoted him as saying. Lukashenko has also accused the U.S.-led NATO alliance, to which Poland and Lithuania belong, of building up forces near the border with Belarus.

Newsline: German-Polish relations hit snag over new ambassador to Warsaw

The German government is growing concerned at Poland’s delay in approving its new ambassador to Warsaw, in a case that has exposed latent tensions between the two neighbours. Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven, the ambassador-designate, has been waiting for three months to receive official approval from the Polish government, known in diplomatic jargon as an “agrément”. Without it, he cannot take up his duties as envoy. (https://www.ft.com/content/395de2d0-5256-4a70-9942-3e33309d80ce) The granting of agréments is a routine matter, especially when the two countries enjoy friendly relations and are both members of the EU and Nato. The German government first blamed the delay in Mr von Loringhoven’s case on the coronavirus pandemic, which shut a number of government offices in Warsaw. Officials then put it down to the protracted campaign for the Polish election, in which President Andrzej Duda won a second term, and to the recent resignation of Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz, which slowed down diplomatic business. However, German officials now believe the delay in approving Mr von Loringhoven’s appointment is politically motivated, and link it to the anti-German rhetoric deployed by Mr Duda during the campaign. Some commentators have suggested that the delay in approving the new ambassador could be linked to his family history. His father Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven was a Wehrmacht adjutant who served in Hitler’s bunker in the last few months of the second world war.

Newsline: U.S. ambassador says EU criticism of Poland ‘overblown’

The U.S. ambassador to Poland said the European Union’s criticism of Poland’s adherence to democracy is “overblown”, as Warsaw faces cuts to EU budget funds over its judiciary reforms. Since coming to power in 2015, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has faced criticism from the EU over its overhaul of its judiciary system, with Brussels accusing Poland of violating EU laws. As its relationship with the EU has faltered, PiS has focused on building strong ties with the United States, especially since President Donald Trump came to power in 2016. “If you’re asking me…do I think that a lot of the attacks on Poland about democratic values is overblown, my answer is yes, I do,” U.S. ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher told Reuters in an interview. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-usa/u-s-ambassador-says-eu-criticism-of-poland-overblown-idUSKCN24J0G5) The EU is struggling to respond to what many in western Europe see as creeping authoritarianism in the eastern wing of the bloc, especially Poland, Hungary and Romania.