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Polish FM: ‘Serious talks’ needed with Germany on war reparations

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 04.09.2017 12:24
Poland “should sit down for serious talks” with Germany to “together find a way to deal with the fact that German-Polish relations are overshadowed by the German aggression of 1939 and unresolved post-war issues,” the Polish foreign minister said on Monday.
Witold Waszczykowski.Witold Waszczykowski.Photo: W.Kusiński/Polish Radio

Witold Waszczykowski made the comment when asked by a radio broadcaster about a potential Polish government decision to seek war reparations from Germany.

“We have to answer this question," Waszczykowski said when private broadcaster RMF FM asked him if Poland would decide to officially claim war reparations from Germany 72 years after the end of World War II.

“The issue was left neglected for 70-odd years,” Waszczykowski added.

Earlier Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that Poland could claim USD 1 trillion in war reparations from Germany.

According to Waszczykowski, "the material losses alone are close to USD 1 trillion" while “the total figure may be more" though no exact calculations have been made during the last 70 years or so.”

Waszczykowski told RMF FM some calculations of the losses - but only those incurred by the Polish capital Warsaw -- during World War II were made when Lech Kaczyński was the city’s mayor from 2002 to 2005.

Many aspects

While the issue of reparations “is beyond dispute morally,” Waszczykowski said, "in legal terms, the matter is ambiguous for various reasons, because there was no conclusion in terms of a peace conference with Germany or a peace treaty, but also because of the meanders of our history.”

"The fact is that Poland was destroyed during the war, terrible crimes were committed here, and we have received no compensation for that,” he added.

Waszczykowski also said that the government in Warsaw was still “preparing” its official position on reparations. He did not say when a final decision could be expected.

Waszczykowski has previously said that opposition in Poland to raising the issue of reparations for World War II is a barrier to potential negotiations with Germany.

In a resolution adopted in 1953, Poland's communist government of the time recognised that Germany had fulfilled its obligations with regard to Poland and decided against seeking compensation payments.

But Poland's ruling conservatives have said that decisions made by the country's communist-era authorities are not necessarily still valid because they were made under pressure from the Soviet Union. Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz has described communist-era Poland as a "Soviet puppet state."

Jarosław Kaczyński, head of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in late 2015, said at a convention in July that Poland never received compensation for the massive war damages it suffered in World War II, losses which "we have really still not made up for".

Officials in Warsaw have also noted that nearly six million Poles were killed during the war from 1939 to 1945, when their country was invaded by Nazi Germany.

Claims toward Russia?

Asked if Poland would demand money from Russia, which invaded Poland in the early days of WW II, Waszczykowski said "the matter has not been resolved legally for many years" and requires “serious analysis."


Source: PAP

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