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UPDATE: Polish, German FMs discuss Ukraine war, WWII reparations

04.10.2022 15:45
The Polish foreign minister on Tuesday met with his German counterpart in Warsaw to discuss Russia's war in Ukraine and Poland's push for World War II reparations from Berlin. 
  • Polish, German FMs discuss Ukraine war, WWII reparations
Polands Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau (right) and Germanys Annalena Baerbock (left) hold a joint news conference after their talks in Warsaw on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.
Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau (right) and Germany's Annalena Baerbock (left) hold a joint news conference after their talks in Warsaw on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.PAP/Albert Zawada

At a joint news conference afterwards, Poland's Zbigniew Rau told reporters: “Polish society is still suffering from the trauma of Germany’s armed assault on Poland in 1939, followed by the German occupation and the negative consequences of these events for social capital, economic potential and national heritage.”

He added: “This limits and hampers opportunities for further development and a deepening of Polish-German relations. It’s high time we tackled this problem.”

Rau told reporters: “This is why the Polish government on Monday issued a note to the German government, asking that this problem be solved, and for a just, comprehensive, material and legal settlement of the issue of damage and losses incurred by Polish citizens and the Polish state as a result of World War II.”

“We very much count on good cooperation with the German government in this regard,” the Polish foreign minister stated.

Last month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz rebuffed Poland’s push for WWII reparations, saying in an interview that the topic “is settled conclusively under international law.”    

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reiterated this stance in Warsaw on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.    

Rau commented: “I am convinced that the German government’s position on this issue is going to evolve as a result of dialogue.”   

Poland estimates its WWII losses caused by Germany at EUR 1.3 trillion

On September 1, Poland published a report estimating the country’s World War II losses caused by German aggression at EUR 1.3 trillion. 

Poland's conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński said at the time that "a decision has been made to raise the issue of World War II reparations with Berlin."

Kaczyński added: “It’s about securing compensation, maybe through a long and arduous process, for everything that Germany, the German state, the German nation, did to Poland between 1939 and 1945.” 

Polish MPs call on Germany to take responsibility for WWII

Two weeks later, the lower house of Poland's parliament, the Sejm, adopted a resolution calling on the German government “to explicitly assume political, historical, legal and financial responsibility for all the consequences caused in the Republic of Poland and to the citizens of the Republic of Poland as a result of the German Third Reich starting World War II.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last month: “I am convinced that we will receive reparations from Germany, although it won’t happen quickly. Even the most difficult journey begins with the first step.” 

Poland, Germany 'have a duty' to help Ukraine: Polish FM

Poland’s top diplomat told reporters in Warsaw on Tuesday that he and Baerbock had also discussed Russia's war in Ukraine and agreed that “Poland and Germany have a duty to assist Ukraine materially in repelling the attack of the Russian aggressor and in regaining its full sovereignty and territorial integrity."

He added: “And so it is of the utmost urgency to provide Ukraine with support in the form of supplies of heavy military equipment, anti-rocket and anti-aircraft defence systems, in addition to tanks and armoured vehicles,” the PAP news agency reported.

Rau said that Poland and Germany also "have a duty to support the process of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.”

He went on to say: “Poland and Germany jointly condemn Russia for its unprovoked and unjustified use of force against Ukraine.”

He also said that Warsaw and Berlin “condemn Russia’s organisation of phoney referenda in occupied territories [in Ukraine] and refuse to recognise the annexation of these territories.” 

Rau stated: “We also agree that the war must end with Ukraine regaining full territorial integrity, the perpetrators of war crimes being held accountable and with Russia paying out reparations and war compensation.”

Tuesday was day 223 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 


Source: IAR, PAP, gov.pl, dw.com