Poland keen to play fresh role in Ukraine crisis talks

8th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Poland is keen to work with Germany and France in search of a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis, its new foreign minister says.

In perhaps his boldest policy statement since taking office last week, Grzegorz Schetyna insisted that the format of "talks with Russia and Ukraine, limited to France and Germany, has been exhausted."

"We need a new stage now. I think those talks should include a Polish presence," he told commercial broadcaster Radio Zet in an interview posted on its website Wednesday.

Schetyna, who took over from Radoslaw Sikorski in a government reshuffle, also told Poland's Rzeczpospolita daily that the Weimar Triangle, comprising France, Germany and Poland, "is in better shape than one would think, and pessimistic or alarmist opinions often result from ignorance."

The trio of Weimar Triangle foreign ministers is to meet in November, he said in an interview published Wednesday.

Their joint diplomatic efforts in Kiev during deadly clashes between pro-Europe protesters and police in February are credited with having prevented further bloodshed in the Ukrainian capital.

Poland later bowed out of peace talks between Kiev and Moscow, facilitated by Berlin and Paris, which resulted in a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine between its military and separatists loyal to Moscow.

But the truce called over a month ago has failed to halt the killing.

Ukraine on Tuesday faced the threat of a resumption of all-out warfare as 12 more people, mostly civilians, died in increasingly bloody clashes with pro-Russian rebels.

Ukraine has a "real" chance to join the European Union, depending on its progress with reforms, Schetyna said, but insisted that its bid for membership of NATO "is not being considered at this time."

He played down possible military aid for Kiev, but left the door open to arms sales.

Poland's new Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz is expected to visit Ukraine after its October 26 general elections, Schetyna told Poland's commercial Polsat TV.

He also said the West could impose a fresh wave of sanctions on Moscow, should it fail to change course on Ukraine.


© 2014 AFP

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