Germany plays down Polish opposition's 'submission' rant

5th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Wednesday dismissed claims by Polish opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski that Berlin aimed to subjugate Poland again, saying he did not speak for most Poles.

"I have no doubt that a very large majority of Polish people value and cherish the friendship with Germany," Westerwelle told reporters when asked about Kaczynski's tirade against Berlin in a new book.

Westerwelle said he would not wade into an internal Polish debate ahead of its October 9 general election in which Kaczynski's party is polling close to Prime Minister Donald Tusk's centrist Civic Platform.

"But I have great faith in the Polish people, in the Polish-German friendship. It is mature, it is stable and it is a blessing not only for both peoples but also for Europe as a whole."

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was deeply committed to close ties with Poland.

"The chancellor attaches extraordinarily great importance to the friendly relationship with our Polish neighbours," the spokesman, Georg Streiter, told a regular government press briefing.

Kaczynski, who heads the conservative Law and Justice party and was Poland's prime minister in 2006-2007, wrote that Merkel "represents the generation of German politicians who want to rebuild German imperial power."

"A strategic axis with Moscow is part of that and Poland can only be an obstacle to it," Kaczynski said in "The Poland of Our Dreams", an advance copy of which was obtained by AFP.

"Our country must be made to submit in one way or another."

Tusk, who has worked to mend fences since winning office in a 2007 snap election after Kaczynski's fractious government crumbled, called the remarks "sad and worrying."

Kaczynski often used anti-German oratory in the 2005 general election campaign, playing on the antipathy of a swathe of the Polish population that is rooted in centuries of bad blood, Nazi Germany's World War II occupation and post-war communist rhetoric.

© 2011 AFP

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