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  • 24 October 2017

    “We should not regard a temporary improvement in the situation as something permanent, constant. Time has shown that the most effective methods of resolving the problem of illegal migration turned out to be those that treat its causes,” said Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski addressing the participants of an OSCE conference on security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region related to, which was held in Palermo, Sicily.


    The conference is the first measure taken by Italy as the future OSCE chair. It was attended by OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia). The chief of Polish diplomacy presented the Polish offer of support to resolve the problem of illegal migration and the related threats in the Mediterranean Sea region.


    In his address, the foreign minister referred to a communication about Poland’s involvement, which was presented by Prime Minister Beata Szydło at the EU summit on 19-20 October this year. He recalled Poland’s support for major EU missions in the Mediterranean and its participation in initiatives of a more long-term, financial nature.


    The point that Minister Waszczykowski made at the high-level panel was that even though the migration crisis is past its peak, its causes remain unresolved. He congratulated Italy on its effective measures taken together with the Libyan authorities which have reduced the migration pressure. He also noted that we should not regard the temporary improvement in the situation as something permanent, constant.



    The minister said that Poland has allocated euro 50 million to implementing the Economic Enhancement Initiative and an additional euro 7 million to EU’s Trust Fund for Africa, among other forms of assistance. The priority is to assist directly on the ground, in other words in Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan, where in 2016 Polish non-governmental organisations carried out 11 projects to the tune of euro 3 million. In 2017, they are implementing 13 projects valued at euro 6 million. Polish support is carried out in the form of bilateral measures by Polish non-governmental organisations and diplomatic missions, as well as through a multilateral channel by means of contributions paid to specialised humanitarian agencies.


    Poland’s top diplomat underscored that Poland had decided to enhance its presence in the EU maritime mission EUNAVFORMED Sophia on the Mediterranean and is prepared to support activities coordinated by Frontex. He also noted that, as a future UN Security Council non-permanent member, Poland intends to take into account Libya’s opinions on issues of key importance for the Mediterranean region.



    On the sidelines of the conference Minister Witold Waszczykowski held bilateral talks with Israel’s Regional Development Minister, Yitzhak Hanegbi. They discussed Middle East security issues, specifically the war in Syria and its implications for the migration crisis, the prospects for relaunching the Middle East Peace Process and the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement. The discussion also focused on fighting terrorism. Prime ministers of Israel and the Visegrad Group have recently agreed to intensify cooperation in this area. Among the bilateral issues covered was economic, scientific and technological cooperation. Minister Hanegbi stressed the special ties linking Israel and Poland and continuing cyclical inter-governmental consultations chaired by the heads of governments of the two countries.



    MFA Press Office

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