Poland’s Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna visited the Federal Foreign Office: his talks with Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier focused on bilateral relations and the Ukraine crisis. Afterwards, Steinmeier told the press that European policy would be incomplete without Poland’s perspective.
“At the moment not a week goes by in which we do not meet – whether at the bilateral level, like today, at European foreign ministers meetings or at international meetings and conferences,” said Foreign Minister Steinmeier with regard to the frequency of discussions with his Polish counterpart, Schetyna. The discussion in Berlin today (5 March) focused on the situation in Ukraine. “Of course it is not yet possible for either of us to be satisfied with the speed at which the Minsk agreements are being implemented,” Steinmeier said following the talks.
Ukraine – the ceasefire must be further strengthened
There had in fact been a significant reduction in the violence and violations of the ceasefire, he continued. Furthermore, the process of withdrawing heavy weapons had begun. Yet the two Foreign Ministers agreed that the situation remained fragile. Thus Steinmeier insisted that every day, attention had to be paid to ensure that “the situation does not re‑escalate and we do not start sliding into confrontations”. Steinmeier announced that a further meeting with the Political Directors of the Normandy Format would be held in Berlin on Friday (6 March) in order to discuss the current state of affairs and next steps. He added that OSCE Special Representative for Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini would attend as representative of the international contact group.
What was important now, said Steinmeier, was to consolidate the withdrawal of weapons and the ceasefire to the point at which the climate was conducive to the next pending step: launching the necessary political process. Steinmeier went on to say that the OSCE would play a very important role in this and that to do so, the organisation would require personnel, technical equipment as well as the necessary financial support. With regard to the Ukraine crisis, the German Foreign Minister told his Polish counterpart: “It’s good to know that we continue to stand so closely together, even when it comes to difficult issues.”
European policy needs Poland’s perspective
This close connection was also reflected within bilateral relations, said Steinmeier, adding that the Ministers wanted to make use of all platforms available for regular exchange. Thus, at the invitation of Poland, the next meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Weimar Triangle would take place in Wrocław soon. Moreover, this year Steinmeier will also attend as a guest the Visegrad Group meetings of the four Central and Eastern European countries, and finally the next German-Polish governmental consultations are coming up soon. According to Steinmeier, all of this showed the great scope of relations between the two countries. With a view to coordination within the EU Steinmeier added that, “without Poland, without your Polish viewpoint and without your expertise, European policy would be incomplete.”
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