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Poland To Open Warsaw Pact Archives

22 November 2005 -- Poland's defense minister says that within a few weeks, his government will open up the so-far secret archives of the former Warsaw Pact.

Defense Minister Radislaw Sikorski said the archives will be handed over to the Institute of National Remembrance, whose main focus is documenting and investigating crimes committed by Poland's Communist authorities prior to 1989.

Sikorski made the comments after meeting NATO's Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in Brussels on 22 November.

The Warsaw Pact -- officially known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance -- was a military organization set up by the Soviet Union in 1955 to counter the perceived threat of the NATO alliance. The Pact, which grouped Communist states in Central and Eastern Europe, was officially dissolved in 1991.