Poland, Russia start long march of cooperation: president

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Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski said Friday the forthcoming visit of his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev would allow both countries to embark on "a long road to cooperation."

"Medvedev's visit comes after years of very limited contacts between Poland and Russia," Komorowski said in an interview broadcast by Polish Public Television.

"Chances are we'll open a new chapter in our relations. I want it to be a good chapter.

"It will be a long road, a long march, but we are starting strong, stengthened by the support of the European Union and NATO and by Poland's good economic situation," he added.

"We are ready to seek areas of cooperation with Russia. We are counting on the fact that the modernization of Russia, about which President Medvedev speaks with so much conviction, will also mean an upgrading of relations between Russia and Poland," he said.

Such cooperation "should be within the scope of structures where Poland's position is growing stronger year by year: Russian-NATO and Russia- EU."

Medvedev's visit will be the first state visit by a Russian president to Poland in nine years.

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.

A particular point of tension has been Poland's membership of the NATO Western defence alliance in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

Relations have warmed since liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk took office in Poland in the autumn of 2007.

© 2010 AFP

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