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EMBASSY NEWS & EVENTS
10 January 2017
“Almost the whole of my brief, roughly two-day long, visit to New York will be devoted to our efforts to join the Security Council, to gain a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in 2018-19. To that end, I have just met with the newly elected Secretary Antonio Guterres. Tonight and tomorrow I’ll have meetings with several dozen ambassadors of different countries, and I’ll be making a case for Poland’s membership,” minister Waszczykowski told journalists after his Monday meeting with the UN chief.
According to Poland’s top diplomat, this is a continuation of efforts that have been going on for months. Bulgaria, which was Poland’s rival in the East European group of states, has pulled out of the race for a SC seat.
The vote on the new non-permanent members of the Security Council will take place in June.
The minister pointed out Poland’s strengths in the race for a non-permanent SC seat to Mr Guterres. The secretary-general was also interested to know Poland’s outlook on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the refugee question.
Asked by PAP whether Guterres aims to improve the UN’s image in America, minister Witold Waszczykowski answered that “he should be given a chance to do so.”
“Tomorrow is an important Security Council meeting, and it will probably be his first speech. I hope he’ll lay out new initiatives, a new vision of how to manage such a big institution. He’s a very experienced politician and diplomat,” emphasized minister Waszczykowski.
Referring to Tuesday’s open Security Council debate about conflict prevention, he recalled that in this field Poland has many achievements to its credit, contributing as it does to stability and world security, rather than being only a security consumer.
“For several decades now, we’ve been involved in numerous peacekeeping operations. Over seventy thousand Polish blue helmets have served at different fronts of such operations. We’ve had major negotiators, such as the late Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who was active in the Balkans more than twenty years ago. Even before him, our Professor (Raphael) Lemkin defined the important concept of genocide,” he said.
The Polish foreign policy chief told reporters about his plans to meet in New York with several major figures who, the minister hopes, will be advising the next US President Donald Trump, or playing important roles in his administration. Mr Waszczykowski named the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and General Michael Flynn, whom the president-elect chose as his national security advisor.
“I want to present the situation in our part of Europe in the wake of NATO decisions, and discuss why these decisions had to be made to strengthen our security. I want to talk about Russian policy, why Russia behaves the way it does and how to respond to it; to argue that it certainly pays out to establish contact with Russia. (…) We will not block such a rapprochement so long as it doesn’t come at our expense,” explained minister Waszczykowski. He went on to stress that such situations did occur in the past. In his opinion, closer relations with Moscow at the expense of Warsaw were maintained by holding back NATO’s enlargement to the East, stopping missile shield construction, and condoning Poland’s second-class membership of NATO. “It did little to improve security in Europe. Rather, it emboldened Russia,” he added.
“We advocate looking for some kind of modus vivendi in the talks and relations with Russia, but this must be in line with the rules of international law,” said the minister.
According to minister Waszczykowski, Trump has abandoned his election campaign rhetoric. Today, there is nothing to suggest a U-turn in foreign policy following his swearing-in. Otherwise the outgoing administration would not be implementing decisions made at the NATO summit, or deploying troops (to Poland), observed the minister.
In the minister’s opinion, as Exxon Mobil’s CEO the appointed US secretary of state Rex Tillerson was bound to have good contacts in Russia, which is a big gas and oil producer. Mr Waszczykowski expressed his hope that as the chief of US diplomacy, Tillerson would use this experience, albeit differently. It is no longer a question of gas and oil, along the lines “buy cheap, sell dear.”
“What’s at stake here is geopolitics, military rivalry, etc.,” he said.
Asked by PAP whether the Polish government will be encouraging the Polish-American electorate to more actively lobby for Poland, minister Waszczykowski replied that that was already the case.
"We had contacts during the election campaign. The younger generation of Polish Americans, who had kept a low profile, have become more active. There are many people now who go as far as to declare that they belong to the Polish community, and who are looking for a place on the new stage. I am optimistic that the forces mobilised by Donald Trump during the campaign, which some even worry might be anti-establishment, are in fact dynamic forces,” noted the chief of Polish diplomacy.
He pointed out that Polish Americans are among the new elites which are now emerging in the United States.
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