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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » January 21, 2009
International Relations
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Poland and Ukraine Talk Gas
January 21, 2009   
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Polish President Lech Kaczyński said his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko presented a proposal for a "technical agreement" to allow resumption of gas deliveries to the EU as soon as possible after the two met Jan. 14 in Poland.

But no Russian gas was flowing through Ukraine when this issue of The Warsaw Voice went to print and the Ukraine-Russia conflict that has seen deliveries to the EU cut looked set to drag on.

EU attempts at mediation have so far come to nothing. Both parties have dug themselves in and were looking around for allies to back up their positions.

Kaczyński met Yushchenko in the southern Polish mountain resort of Wisła. No details were disclosed of Yushchenko's proposals for the "technical agreement."

Yushchenko flatly rejected Russian allegations that Ukraine had stolen gas destined for Slovakia and Balkan countries Jan. 13, saying "Ukraine acts responsibly towards its friends in Europe." He added that Ukraine had asked the European Commission to examine the circumstances which gave rise to the crisis during the first week of January and to state its position on Russia's allegations that Ukraine had been stealing gas.

Russia has proposed a Moscow summit for those countries whose gas has been cut off as a result of the conflict. Kaczyński and Yushchenko came up with a similar initiative after their talks in Wisła, only they said any summit should be called by the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency, and be held in Prague. They said they had discussed the proposal with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek over the telephone.

Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski was present at the Wisła talks. The government and the president were in agreement in Wisła despite the opposing positions they had held previously when Kaczyński stood by Ukraine while the government adopted a more cautious approach.

"Both the government and the president understand the need to ensure energy security for Poland," foreign ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski said.
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