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Poland turns to UN on WWII reparations

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-01-09 09:59
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Poland will continue to pressure Germany to settle World War II reparations and has turned to the United Nations and the United States for support.

According to an official statement from the Polish Foreign Ministry, issued last week, Germany has rejected Warsaw's request to enter into talks on compensation for damage caused during WWII.

Poland would now turn to the UN to support its attempt to win compensation, the ministry said.

On Oct 3, Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau presented a diplomatic note to Germany regarding reparations for damages committed on Poland during WWII that the state estimates amount to 1.3 trillion euros ($1.39 trillion).

According to the ministry, the German government has reiterated its stance that the matter "is closed".

Its statement said: "According to information from the Federal Republic of Germany, the matter of reparations and compensation for losses during World War II is closed, and Germany has no intention of negotiating the issue."

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk rejected Germany's stance as wrong in a statement on Wednesday, reported Deutsche Welle News, or DW.

"Germany's response is astonishing to us in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as for the Polish state," he said.

"The German government cannot answer a question that was never posed. Neither negotiations nor conciliatory discussions took place.

"We do not accept Germany's position," Mularczyk said.

"We reject it as completely unjustified and wrong. We will continue to act within Germany and on the international stage to urge the German population and the international community to change its position."

Germany argues that compensation was paid to Europe's Eastern bloc nations in the years after the war, noted Euronews.

The state insists the matter was closed after Warsaw dropped its demand for reparations. But Poland claims it stopped seeking compensation at the time because of pressure from Moscow.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Oct 4 that it's "our eternal duty to remember the suffering Germany brutally inflicted upon millions of Polish people", but the issue of reparations is closed.

Euronews reported that Polish diplomats took the case to the UN on Tuesday, asking for its "cooperation and support so that Poland can receive compensation for the damage caused by aggression and occupation by the Germans".

DW reported that Poland has turned to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, seeking to increase pressure on Berlin.

It noted that UNESCO Secretary-General Audrey Azoulay has been invited to Warsaw, and said Mularczyk would hope to find allies in the US Congress, on a trip recently announced.

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