Monday, July 21, 2014

Lucia Where is the Polish Foreign Minister in this current crisis with Russia?

The Economist's Eastern Approaches Blog asks, Where is Radek?

Radek being the Polish Foreign Minister, Radosław Sikorski, who has effectively been sidelined as a voice for Ukraine by the release of tapes of a private conversation from earlier this year where he said that the alliance with the US was basically useless for Poland. Yet, he has always been the most direct and clear headed about what is actually going on with Ukraine and Russia and the whole situation.

AT THE start of the Ukraine crisis Poland’s foreign minister, Radek Sikorski (pictured), was a central figure in formulating a European response to Russia's actions in Ukraine. Yet as the crisis in Poland’s neighbouring country is escalating Mr Sikorski seems to have been sidelined from Europe’s diplomatic efforts.

Mr Sikorski travelled to Kiev earlier this week to meet with top Ukrainian officials. His solitary journey was a marked contrast to his trip to the Ukrainian capital in February, when he was accompanied by both his French and German counterparts. The three minsters played an important role in negotiating an end to the violence on Kiev's Maidan, the square at the centre of the recent upheaval.

Back in Warsaw, Mr Sikorski said Ukraine's leaders had appealed to him to get the European Union to press Russia over its refusal to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine and its continued military support for pro-Russian separatists. The foreign minister also presciently warned about the dangers posed by such supplies, especially ground-to-air missiles. “These are mobile rockets whose sale is governed by international rules and they are forbidden from being supplied to non-state groups, because that creates the possibility of the proliferation of these kinds of weapons, which creates a danger to civil aviation around the world,” Mr Sikorski said, speaking two days before an anti-aircraft missile shot down a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 over eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 aboard.

Poland's diminished role is in part a result of Russian demands. The new formula for negotiating Ukraine is a four-country grouping consisting of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, where Poland's overt scepticism of Russia has no place. “Poland was pushed aside,” says a Polish diplomat. Marcin Zaborowski, head of the Polish Institute for International Affairs, a foreign policy think-tank, adds, “France and Germany are interested in de-escalating and Poland causes problems with this.”

Yes, Poland would cause problems given her experiences with Russia over the past few centuries.

Related link: Where is Radek? ~ Eastern Approaches

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