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Archive for Poland

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.

Newsline: US Embassy, Consulate suspend most visa-related services in Poland

The US Embassy in Warsaw and the Consulate General in Krakow announced on Friday that amid coronavirus concerns they will suspend most visa-related services from16 March, adding that service to US citizens will continue to be provided. “To ensure public safety due to the #coronavirus, most visa services at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the U.S. Consulate in Krakow will be suspended beginning Monday, March 16. Services for US citizens remain open,” US Embassy Warsaw twitter post read. (Newsline: https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/polands-us-embassy-consulate-suspend-most-visa-related-services-11127) The Polish government said that it decided to shut down for two weeks all educational, higher learning and cultural institutions in the country in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. All mass events have also been called off in the country.

Newsline: Poland evacuates its ambassador from Iraq

Following Iran’s attack on two U.S. bases in Iraq, Poland evacuated its ambassador in Iraq, according to Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, local media reported. (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/poland-evacuates-its-ambassador-from-iraq/1696661) Czaputowicz told Radio ZET that Beata Peksa, the Polish ambassador to Iraq, has been evacuated and returned to Poland It was also reported that the evacuation took place at the request of British diplomats, because the Polish embassy is located in the international zone of the British embassy’s premises.

Newsline: Israeli man who spat at Polish ambassador convicted of assault

An Israeli man was convicted on Sunday of spitting on the Polish ambassador to Israel in an incident earlier this year that came at the height of a round of tensions between Jerusalem and Poland over the latter’s role during the Holocaust. Arik Lederman, 65, agreed to a plea deal that saw the indictment against him amended to consist only of an assault charge, while a charge of threatening the ambassador was dropped. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-man-convicted-of-assault-for-spitting-at-polish-ambassador/) According to the indictment, Lederman blocked Ambassador Marek Magierowski’s car outside the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv in May and banged on its roof. The ambassador then rolled down the window to photograph Lederman, who opened the door and spat at Magierowski twice.

Newsline: US ambassador sided with Poland in dispute with Russia

Germany and the Soviet Union were both responsible for the outbreak of World War II, said the United States Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher. Her statements, made in a tweet, were responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Poland was responsible for the start of the war. “Dear President Putin, Hitler and Stalin colluded to start WWII. That is a fact. Poland was a victim of this horrible conflict,” Mosbacher wrote. (https://www.dw.com/en/us-ambassador-in-poland-says-soviet-union-helped-start-wwii/a-51835348) Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Sunday condemned Putin’s comments as well, writing in a statement that it was unacceptable to cast perpetrators as victims. The Polish Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned the Russian ambassador over Putin’s comments. “President Putin has lied about Poland on numerous occasions, and he has always done it deliberately,” said Morawiecki. Over the past week, Putin has made multiple comments denying the Soviet Union’s role in starting the war, and tried to blame Poland for its outbreak. He also denied that Russia invaded Poland in 1939, purporting that Poland was on board with Hitler’s Holocaust plans.

Newsline: Poland summons Russian ambassador over WWII spat

The Polish authorities protested “historical insinuations” made by top Kremlin officials by summoning Russian ambassador to Warsaw, Sergey Andreyev. “[W]e are ready to explain to Russian diplomats historical facts for as long as it will take for them to understand that the world will never forget the true meaning of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact,” Polish Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcin Przydacz, said on Twitter on Saturday. (https://www.dw.com/en/poland-summons-arussian-ambassador-over-wwii-spat/a-51822547) After Vladimir Putin slammed Polish envoy to Nazi Germany as an “anti-Semitic pig,” Poland summoned Russia’s ambassador. The nations dispute the role of Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of non-aggression in the lead-up to WWII. The latest escalation comes after the European Parliament passed a resolution on the pact, saying the accord “paved the way for the outbreak of World War II,” and describing it as a deal “between the two totalitarian regimes.” Moscow has long insisted that the pact, named after German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and his Soviet counterpart Vyacheslav Molotov, was a necessary evil to delay the Nazi invasion. Modern Russia also strongly resents attempts to equalize Nazi Germany and the Stalin-led Soviet Union, whose troops caused well over half of Germany’s military losses and also paid the highest price to defeat the Nazi war machine.