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Poland-Russia 'Round Table' Opens In Warsaw

  • Chris Klimiuk

Warsaw, Feb. 2 (RFE/RL) - A two-day Poland-Russia "round-table" opened today in Warsaw. The initiative for the meeting came from Poland, and was arranged by former Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, when he visited Moscow in November.

Poland's Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati opened today's "round-table" session, saying the agenda includes a variety of topics.

Rosati mentioned the process of transformation in each country, Polish-Russian relations, the place of Poland and Russia in European and world structures, as well as Poland's aspirations to join NATO and the European Union.

Rosati said he hopes the meeting will have an important influence on the shape of future bi-lateral relations, and "will elevate the political dialogue between Warsaw and Moscow, which should follow the development of mutual economic cooperation."

Rosati pointed out that among the priorities of Poland's foreign policy is good relations with all neighboring countries, and that relations with Russia are of special significance.

Also attending the "round table," former Defense Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz said: "there is a need of direct dialogue with Russia, and it is not only the need of the elite." Onyszkiewicz is now a member of Parliament from the opposition Freedom Union Party.

Russia is represented at the "round table" by an assortment of presidential and government experts. There are aides to President Boris Yeltsin, experts in the fields of foreign and defense policy, as well as representatives of the Russian Academy of Science and Strategic Research Institutes. Perhaps the most prominent figure is one of Yeltsin's top advisers on foreign policy and international security, Sergei Karaganov.

Polish-Russian relations have been strained lately by the "Oleksy case." Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy, a former communist, resigned last month amid allegations that he spied for Moscow. Oleksy has denied wrongdoing, and Moscow has denied Oleksy passed secrets to its intelligence agents.