Poland, Russia pledge dialogue after air crash report

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski pledged on Friday to continue dialogue after Moscow blamed Polish officials for the death of the nation's previous president, the Kremlin said.

A fragile thaw in Polish-Russian ties appeared to come under threat after Moscow unveiled a report blaming Polish failures for the April plane crash that killed president Lech Kaczynski causing an angry reaction in Warsaw.

The Kremlin said that Komorowski called Medvedev late Friday and the two leaders discussed the report's findings and expressed willingness to continue to work together for the benefit of the two countries.

"During the conversation a mutual intention to continue constructive dialogue....has been expressed," Medvedev's office said in a statement, adding that the leaders also discussed plans to jointly mark the anniversary of the April tragedy.

Kaczynski died with 95 others when his presidential jet crashed on April 10, 2010, as it attempted to land in fog near the city of Smolensk in western Russia.

Poland and its Soviet-era master Russia have had uneasy relations since the demise of communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union 20 years ago but Poles were struck by the level of public and official mourning in Russia following the tragedy.

But the crash and subsequent investigation have soon become highly politicised, with Poland sharply criticising Russia's handling of the crash probe.

To add further to tensions, Russia on Wednesday issued the final version of the report indicating two top Polish officials -- one of whom had consumed alcohol -- entered the cockpit to pressure pilots to land as they did not want to annoy Kaczynski by diverting the flight.

The report caused an angry reaction in Warsaw.

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the report was "incomplete" although he stressed that the disaster should not have a negative impact on bilateral.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the late president's twin brother and former prime minister, said that the Russian report "makes a mockery of Poland".

He is now the leader of Poland's conservative opposition.

© 2011 AFP

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