Polish, Russian foreign ministers discuss bilateral issues

Polish, Russian foreign ministers discuss bilateral issues

Polish and Russian Foreign Ministers Radoslaw Sikorski and Sergei Lavrov in Warsaw on Thursday discussed cross-border traffic, liberalisation of visa regulations and the return of the wreckage of the Polish presidential plane that crashed in Russia in 2010.

Rados³aw Sikorski, Siergiej £awrow

Polish and Russian Foreign Ministers Radoslaw Sikorski (R) and Sergei Lavrov (L) in Warsaw
fot.Paweł Supernak/PAP/EPA

Radoslaw Sikorski and Sergei Lavrov chaired a meeting of the Polish-Russian Committee for Cooperation Strategy.

At a joint press conference with Lavrov, Sikorski said that Russia is Poland’s important neighbour and business partner and stressed that relations between Polish and Russian societies, companies and governments are better than presented in the media in both countries.

Minister Sikorski noted that Russia is the fifth largest export market and the second largest source of imports for Poland. „According to our statistics, trade between our countries amounted to USD 37.9 billion and went up nearly 13 percent in the first three quarters of 2013,” he stressed.

The Russian foreign minister declared that Moscow aims to create a favourable environment for the operation of Russian companies in Poland and Polish companies in Russia. „We will support the expansion of the trade structure, particularly technologically-advanced manufacturing. We will stress the development of small and medium-size businesses,” Sergei Lavrov said.

Earlier on Thursday the ministers signed a joint declaration called „2020 Program in Polish-Russian relations” that lists priorities and directions of cooperation between both countries.

Sikorski assured that at the EU forum Poland constantly supports the liberalisation of visa regulations for all its eastern neighbours, including Russia. The cross-border traffic agreement between Poland and Russia is a clear success, he said.

Sikorski presented Lavrov with a report on the influence of the agreement on cross-border trade and encouraged him to make a joint Polish-Russian presentation in the EU to advocate for visa liberalisation.

Minister Lavrov echoed Sikorski’s opinion on the cross-border traffic. Despite „some shortcomings,” the advantages of the programme are indisputable. „Therefore we hope that the EU will make positive decisions based on such good experiences from cross-border traffic,” said Lavrov.

Sikorski reported that he and the Russian minister had also focused on the relations of both countries with Ukraine, new prospects in relations with Iran and the situation in Syria. The two also discussed mutual support on the forums of OECD, UN and G20.

The Polish minister reported that he had once again urged Russia to return the wreckage of the Polish presidential plane that crashed near Smolensk in Russia on April 10, 2010, killing all passengers on board, including then Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

Asked about the issue, Lavrov said that the wreckage will be returned to Poland when the Russian investigation is completed, possibly in April 2014.

„We would not like to leave any issues uninvestigated,” the Russian minister noted.

Also on Thursday, deputy Foreign Minister Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz and special representative of the Russian president for cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy signed a joint statement on the course of preparations for a Polish Year in Russia and Russian Year in Poland in 2015.

Lavrov announced that he had agreed with Sikorski to introduce visa facilitation procedures for the participants in the cultural events during the period. „However, it would be simpler to switch to visa-free traffic between the EU and Russia now. We highly value Poland’s stance supporting such a solution,” he added.

(PAP)

Categories: News in English

Comments

  1. Brent E. Griffin
    Brent E. Griffin 20 grudnia, 2013, 21:21

    Poland returned to the map of Europe with the end of World War I, officially regaining its independence on November 11th, 1918. Soon, by 1920-21, the newly-reborn country got into territorial disputes with Czechoslovakia and, especially, the antagonistic and newly Soviet Russia with which it fought a war. This was further complicated by a hostile Weimar Germany to the west, which strongly resented the annexation of portions of its eastern Prussian territories, and the detachment of German-speaking Danzig (contemporary Gdańsk ) as a free city.

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