Presidents Yanukovich (left) and Komorowski in Krakow: photo - PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk
"We are working hard and, it seems, productively, for the success of the summit," Bronislaw Komorowski said following talks on Monday in Krakow with Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovich.
"Polish-Ukrainian relations and the prospect of Ukraine’s move towards cooperation with the European Union are strategic matters for Poland," he added.
President Yanukovich noted the "extremely important role of President Komorowski in bringing my country closer to the EU."
Neither of the two presidents, however, referred to the case of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for 'abuse of powers' when in office in 2008, an issue which Brussels says must be cleared up before Ukraine signs free trade deals and other agreements with the EU.
Her name was not even mentioned on Monday, with President Komorowski speaking only of "eliminating the last obstacles to the success of the summit in Vilnius".
The EU, US and others have said Tymoshenko's imprisonment is political in nature and her release from prison is one of the most important conditions put forward by the EU ahead of signing the association agreement.
According to some sources, she is likely to be allowed to go to Germany for medical treatment in coming days, however, for acute back pain.
The presidents of Poland, Germany, Finland, Latvia, Portugal and Italy are meeting on Tuesday in Krakow within the so-called Arrailos Group, called after the Portuguese town of that name which was the venue of the first such meeting in 2003.
The remaining members of the Group – Austria, Slovenia and Hungary – do not take part in the meeting, but President Komorowski also invited, as special guests, his counterparts in Bulgaria and Estonia.
The talks focus on the overcoming of the crisis within the European Union, transatlantic relations and next month’s Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, with the special attention paid to the prospects for concluding an EU-Ukraine association agreement.
According to Jaromir Sokołowski, a minister at the presidential chancellery, in the view of the Polish president, the Vilnius summit could prove to be a breakthrough in forging a pattern of cooperation between the EU and its partner states.
President Komorowski, the minister said, will be trying to convince his counterparts from other countries that concluding an association agreement with the EU is "the best guarantee of keeping Ukraine on a pro-European course". (pg/mk)