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Polish, Czech presidents to discuss Ukraine war, bilateral ties

16.03.2023 08:00
Poland’s president was set to hold talks with his Czech counterpart on Thursday, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and bilateral relations top of the agenda, according to officials.
Polish President Andrzej Duda (right) and the Czech Republics Petr Pavel (left).
Polish President Andrzej Duda (right) and the Czech Republic's Petr Pavel (left).Twitter/International Policy Bureau of the Office of the President of Poland

Poland’s Andrzej Duda was due to host the Czech Republic’s Petr Pavel at the presidential palace in Warsaw, state news agency PAP reported.

For the newly elected Czech president, accompanied by First Lady Eva Pavlova, it was set to be the first meeting during a two-day visit to Poland.  

Support for Ukraine, cooperation in NATO, bilateral ties

Marcin Przydacz, a top foreign policy advisor to the Polish head of state, said the two presidents would discuss Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and bilateral ties, including “future relations within European and Euro-Atlantic structures.”

He noted that NATO allies would convene for a summit meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the summer. 

Przydacz told reporters: “Both Poland and the Czech Republic have their plans of action regarding the Vilnius summit. Both Poland and the Czech Republic would like NATO to further adapt to the current security challenges, to strengthen its presence on the eastern flank, but also to intensify its support for the countries on the eastern flank.”

The aide said that both Duda and Pavel agreed "that a continued policy of deterrence against Russia is a guarantee of security for us all.”

Przydacz added: “If we want to send the appropriate signal to the East, to ensure that they won’t even contemplate destabilising our part of Europe, then NATO equipment should be deployed here. This will definitely be one of the topics of Thursday’s discussions.”      

Meanwhile, Duda and Pavel were also expected to discuss bilateral Polish-Czech relations, including economic ties, according to officials. 

“Poland and the Czech Republic have wide-ranging economic relations," Przydacz said. "For Poland, the Czech Republic is the second-largest economic partner, while for the Czech Republic, Poland is the third-biggest partner, so the two presidents will also discuss ways to expand this economic cooperation.”

He was asked by the media about the future of the regional Visegrad Group (V4), which brings together Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, amid reports that Pavel was sceptical about the group’s effectiveness, the PAP news agency reported.

Przydacz said that, "with more than 30 years of history," the V4 group "is a tried and tested format.” He added: “It’s not a separate organisation in the formal and legal sense, but a platform for discussion and it will remain that way.”    

Poland is 'a strategic partner' for Czech Republic: Pavel

Ahead of his visit to Warsaw, Pavel described Poland as “a strategic partner” for the Czech Republic, the PAP news agency reported.

Speaking in an interview with Polish state broadcaster TVP Info on Wednesday, Pavel said: “I consider Poland, together with our government, as a strategic partner, a country with which we share a view on security matters, especially when it comes to policy in relation to Ukraine. We also have many economic and interpersonal ties.”

Asked which aspects of Polish-Czech cooperation were, in his view, most important, the Czech head of state said: “Poland and the Czech Republic share the same position, not only in relation to NATO, but above all when it comes to support for Ukraine and policy towards Russia. I have no doubt that this is the number one issue.”

He added that Poland and the Czech Republic also shared "the same stance" on many issues in the European Union, the PAP news agency reported.  

While in Warsaw, Pavel, who was sworn in last week, is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the speakers of both houses of Poland's parliament, officials said. 

It’s the second foreign trip for the new Czech president, following a visit to Bratislava, Slovakia, earlier this week, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported. 

Thursday is day 386 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. 


Source: IAR, PAP, tvp.info