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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A meeting of Ukrainian and Polish presidents

A meeting of Ukrainian and Polish presidents   |   A meeting of Ukrainian and Polish presidents A meeting of Ukrainian and Polish presidents A meeting of Ukrainian and Polish presidents

Tuesday afternoon saw the President of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski, and the President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, meeting at the presidential manor house on the Hel peninsula.


“Poland not only defends the interests of Ukraine but also wants to be its friend and a good role-model to follow, for we have already achieved the success Ukraine seeks: we joined NATO and the EU, and we transformed our country and modernised it,” Bronisław Komorowski said in an interview for TVP Info.

About the European integration of Ukraine

“Ukraine has made considerable efforts and significant progress as far as its road towards European integration is concerned,” he added, “but there are also obstacles hindering this process and spoiling the image of Ukraine, such as the trial of Julia Tymoshenko which is, in Europe and many other countries, considered a political rather than just criminal trial.”


“A friend, and Poland is a friend of Ukraine, can speak very frankly and we say that the obstacle and difficulty, that is, the negative opinion of the world concerning Julia Tymoshenko's trial, has to be taken into account by the Ukrainian authorities as they plan further steps to be taken,” Bronisław Komorowski said.


He also pointed out that it is up to the Ukrainian authorities should find a solution to this problem proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the trial is not an act of political revenge involving a former rival.


“There is also another aspect of the matter which Ukraine and its president obviously noticed and it is not to be trifled with. What I mean is that there is an agreement concerning gas at stake here and it is very unfavourable for Ukraine and very beneficial for Russia," he added.


In his opinion, this issue hinders Ukraine on its road towards European integration. “And Poland, an advocate of Ukraine, is concerned about it,” he remarked.


President Komorowski emphasized that he tried to explain to President Yanukovych that the matter may – in its present form – prove to be a serious obstacle preventing Ukraine from retaining its good pace on the road leading to the Western world. “I believe that we will soon learn about how the Ukrainian authorities and the President of Ukraine solved this issue. We would very much like this to be good news, dispersing doubts regarding the causes underlying the trial rather than multiplying them or adding new ones," he said.

A difficult Ukrainian-Polish past

In Bronisław Komorowski’s opinion, when the relations between two nations are discussed, it is good to show that both parties share a desire to forget about bad events from the past. In the interview, the President mentioned the idea that the presidents of Poland and Ukraine should simultaneously unveil two monuments: one in Ostrówki in Wołyń, where many Poles were killed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, and one at the village of Sahryń, where a Polish act of retaliation was committed which, however, did not pertain to that particular event but rather to the entire vast and bloody struggle between Ukraine and Poland raging during the Second World War.


“Ostrówki and Sahryń fall further and further back into the past, also due to the fact that, recently, the long-sought grave was found of the remains of several hundred massacred Poles. Today a symbolic funeral took place at the cemetery in Ostrówki and I hope that, in line with the procedures and arrangements of parties such as the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites, a monument will be erected there in cooperation with Ukraine to commemorate the atrocities of war,” he said.


“I would want this monument to symbolise that both Ukrainians and Poles managed to overcome their difficult past in order to be able to strive towards a better future,” Bronisław Komorowski added.


The visit of the Ukrainian leader to Poland was private. Apart from meeting with President Komorowski, the President of Ukraine also laid a wreath at the Monument to the Defenders of the Coast at Westerplatte in Gdańsk.



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