Historical dispute should not weaken Poland-Ukraine ties – Polish foreign minister
Head of the Polish Foreign Ministry Jacek Czaputowicz hopes that historical issues will not become an obstacle in the relations between Poland and Ukraine.
The statement came as the minister spoke at the Europe of the Carpathians conference held in Przemysl, Radio Poland reports.
"It is about societies being able to get to know each other, learn their arguments, so that historians could hold discussions on these topics, and to let this become an obstacle in bilateral relations. I want to repeat: strategically, regarding Ukraine's territorial integrity, Ukraine's protection and support in its dispute with Moscow, and regarding Ukraine's pro-European orientation, there is no doubt," the Polish foreign minister stressed.
Read alsoPoland's Foreign Minister: Sanctions against Russia should remain in place – Polish mediaThe Minister noted that in Przemysl the issue was discussed of strengthening ties between the Polish and Ukrainian peoples. This included, in particular, Poland's openness to economic cooperation, the increasing number of Ukrainians working and studying in Poland, as well as the idea of creating the next border crossing point.
Delegations from Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary took part in the conference.
As UNIAN reported earlier, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference Feb 17 urged the Polish leadership to refrain from taking steps threatening dialogue on historical issues. The head of state also drew attention to the tone of the statement on and assessment of the role of the Ukrainian hetman Bohdan Khmelnitsky that are extremely undesirable for Ukrainian-Polish relations.
Recently, the Polish Sejm and Senate passed a law on the Institute of National Remembrance, which, inter alia, bans promotion of the ideology of Ukrainian nationalists. The law also introduces criminal liability for the assertion that the Poles were aiding the Nazis during World War II.
President of Poland Andrzej Duda signed the law and forwarded it to the Constitutional Court of the country for a review.
The Polish Foreign Ministry explains that the law concerns only those who publicly and contrary to facts deny the crimes committed by "collaborators of the Nazi regime" and noted that the main purpose of the law is "to combat all forms of denial and distortion of truth about the Holocaust," as well as to fight with "talking down the responsibility of the true perpetrators".
Israel came out categorically against the Polish law, claiming no law is able to change historical facts. The Israeli foreign ministry expressed hope that the Polish authorities would amend the legislation.
The U.S. State Department called on Poland to review the law, as it could affect Polish strategic interests and relations, including with the United States and Israel.