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Medvedev’s visit to Poland to be landmark event in bilateral relations – FM

Published time: October 29, 2010 14:53
Edited time: November 15, 2010 17:09

Moscow is satisfied with the current trend towards stepping up bilateral cooperation with Poland in key areas, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

Lavrov, who is now visiting Poland, addressed on Thursday the sixth session of the Committee for the Russian-Polish Cooperation Strategy in Warsaw.

The Russian president’s visit to Poland in early December will hopefully have a positive impact on further bilateral relations, the minister stressed.

“We believe Dmitry Medvedev’s visit must become a landmark event in our relations,” Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

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The minister was scheduled to meet with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Senate speaker Bogdab Borusevic. At the meeting with his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski, Lavrov assessed the results of “resetting” basic mechanisms of bilateral cooperation and discuss international issues.

The session of the Committee for the Russian-Polish Cooperation Strategy, chaired by Sikorski, was attended by representatives from Russian and Polish agencies which are closely involved in the process of cooperation.

The commission discusses issues of cooperation in economy, energy, transport, as well as science, culture, tourism and youth exchange. Russian officials from Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg were invited to take part in the session.

“Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Bronislaw Komorowski set the task to study the state of key directions of bilateral cooperation, discuss the existing problems and sensitive issues, and determine ways to move forward,” Itar-Tass quoted Lavrov as saying.

According to the minister, the new intergovernmental protocols on gas between the two countries will be signed in Warsaw on Friday. The document should “lay the foundation for further mutually beneficial cooperation on a long-term basis in this important area,” the minister said.

The group tackling complex issues stemming from the history of Russian-Polish relations, and the Public Dialogue Forum is also taking part in the session. The group of scholars is co-chaired by rector of Moscow State Institute of International Relations Alexey Torkunov and former Polish Foreign Minister Adam Rotfeld.

In the humanitarian field, Moscow believes that “ambiguous pages of common history must not be projected in a negative way on the present and future relations between Russia and Poland, nor should they complicate these relations,” Itar-Tass quoted Nesterenko as saying. Moscow hopes to redirect historic issues into a “purely scholarly, ethical channel,” he added.

Moscow “is satisfied with stepping up Russian-Polish cooperation in all key directions,” Lavrov said in Poland. According to him, key mechanisms of cooperation “work fruitfully.”

The relations should “meet the interests of ordinary people” and support broad contacts between citizens, regions and businesses,” he stressed.

Lavrov, Sikorski discuss bilateral relations

During Medvedev’s visit in December, a minimum of three new agreements will be signed, Lavrov said after his meeting with Sikorski. The two ministers discussed issues involving Russia-EU and Russia-NATO relations. According to Sikorski, Warsaw and Moscow have decided to establish joint “centers of harmony and dialog” in both countries.

Speaking on another important topic, of bilateral relations, Lavrov said that Moscow would pass onto Poland fragments from the wreckage of the presidential plane which crashed in Russia. He said he would do so after the two countries’ prosecutors finish the investigation.

Moscow and Warsaw have prepared an agreement on cross-border movement. Now it is up to the EU to amend the corresponding standards of the regulations, Sikorski noted. “Both Poland and Russia will be trying to amend the standards, in order to make the softened visa rules become effective as soon as possible, so that citizens can make use of them,” he noted.

People living in Kaliningrad Region, the Russian western enclave, will be able to make visa-free trips to Poland if the agreement is adopted. The current EU regulations that limit a border region to a 30km area should be amended, according to Lavrov. “It is clear that the EU should make an exception in this case,” he said at a news conference in Warsaw on Thursday. “I hope, wisdom will prevail.”

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