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  • 17 October 2017

    The Polish government is guided by a firm belief that a European, politically and economically stable Ukraine is indispensable for our continent’s security,” writes Poland’s top diplomat Witold Waszczykowski in Tuesday’s issue of Rzeczpospolita.

    “Partnership with Ukraine remains a key task for Poland’s foreign policy. It is a deep and multidimensional relation, one between neighbours that are not only bound by a rich centuries’ old legacy, but also by their sense of responsibility for a common European  future,” writes the chief of Polish diplomacy. Therefore, he adds, the intense and substantive nature of Polish-Ukrainian cooperation should not come as a surprise.

     

     

    "Poland belongs and will continue to belong to a group of states which believe that the international community has an obligation to oppose armed violations of the international order, no matter how painful the costs of such an attitude may be on many occasions, including the damage done to our entrepreneurs," said the minister.

     

    He also said that "Poland’s troubled eastern neighbourhood and the severe impact of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine reaffirm our belief that we need  not only to strengthen our own security as a NATO member, but also to incessantly defend Ukraine’s right to freely choose its development path and its international alliances.”

     

    The Minister noted that on 1 January next year Poland will succeed Ukraine as a non-permanent UN Security Council member for a two-year term.  

     

    "We see this role as an opportunity and an obligation: to seek to restore in our region respect for norms of international law such as the inviolability of borders, the sovereignty of states, renouncing military force, blackmail, and the use of force to solve disputes between states. It is in this spirit that we will engage ourselves in the work on establishing a UN peacekeeping mission in Ukraine," declared Waszczykowski.

     

    "Poland is guided by a firm belief that a European, politically and economically stable Ukraine is indispensable for our continent’s security. So it is important for us to see real and far-reaching reforms in Ukraine,” stressed the Minister.

     

    He added that Poland has been supporting Kyiv in real terms for many years. "We have been systematically increasing our development assistance: in 2016 Poland allocated around 95 million zlotys for this purpose. Polish experts are ready to continue supporting reforms in fighting corruption, education and the decentralization process," added the MFA head.

     

    He also pointed out that Ukraine’s membership of Eastern Partnership is an important instrument that brings our neighbour closer to the EU. After years of empty assurances by its predecessors, the current government has effectively pressed ahead with exempting Ukrainian citizens from applying for visas to travel to the European Union. It is a historic progress in forming a sense of European community that reaches beyond the EU borders," he said.

     

    "The Polish government has earlier made a conscious decision to ease up the rules of settling, studying and applying for work in Poland for Ukrainians. The scale of this phenomenon and its significance for our relations is best reflected in the NBP (National Bank of Poland) figures – the Ukrainians working in Poland remitted eight billion zlotys to their families in 2016,” he explained.

     

    According to Poland’s top diplomat "the EU should remain an open community whose force of gravity pulls at the aspirations of our Eastern neighbours.”

     

    “Regardless of all those areas in which Poland and Ukraine understand each other perfectly, we also talk about difficult matters, specifically those that involve our common history: settling the issue of genocide at the hands of OUN/UPA (the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists/the Ukrainian Insurgent Army) of their Polish neighbours in Volyn, enabling a decent burial or commemoration of the remains of the victims of conflicts scattered across the territory of a once common state, life of the Roman Catholic community in Ukraine," said Minister Waszczykowski.

     

    He added that these long-standing issues are coupled with new ones, such as banning Polish social activists and academics who criticize the historical policy of Kyiv from entering Ukraine.

     

    "Or the insufficient commitment of the competent Ukrainian services to protecting Polish diplomatic missions that are being targeted with explosives and munitions," he emphasized.

     

    "Warsaw views Kyiv as a partner and wants to share with it successes, benefits, but also responsibility. A genuine alliance can only be built on such equal partnership," said the minister.

     

    He recalled that next year Poland will celebrate the 100th anniversary of regaining independence after 123 years. "Ukrainians also know the bitterness of captivity and the joy of independence. And this is what makes us so close. By remaining open to each other, we will never be defeated. But if we hold grudges against each other, we will be making our enemies strong," wrote Poland’s top diplomat.

     

    Source: PAP, Rzeczpospolita

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