Former Polish Foreign Minister discusses anti-missile shield in Washington, DC

Friday, June 27, 2008

Anna Fotyga, official portrait

A former Polish Foreign Affairs Minister and the current Secretary of State at the President's Chancellery, Anna Fotyga, is reported to have flown to the United States with a "secret mission" regarding the "last chance" negotiations about the location of the anti-missile shield in Poland.

According to Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Fotyga's trip hasn't been acknowledged by either the Prime Minister's Office, or the Foreign Affairs Ministry, who are responsible for the negotiations. Wyborcza also claims that this misunderstanding — according to an anonymous expert on European affairs in Washington — might introduce chaos in the talks. The daily writes that the Polish Foreign Affairs Ministry has made it clear to the Americans that Minister Fotyga does not hold any authority on this trip.

I have no knowledge about this.

—Donald Tusk, Polish PM

Polish President Lech Kaczyński is enthusiastic about the anti-missile shield in Poland; he has supported the initiative—along with the former cabinet of his twin brother Jarosław Kaczyński—many times in the past. However, the PM's Donald Tusk government is more skeptic; the current Foreign Affairs Minister Radosław Sikorski with the PM himself have told the press that the acceptance of locating the shield in Poland "has to pay off".

In return for locating the shield in Poland, the Polish government wants Washington to equip Polish Armed Forces with the Patriot PAC-3, THAAD and AMRAAM air-defence missile systems.

According to the spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Piotr Paczkowski, the Ministry had been informed about the Anna Fotyga's visit in the US and found it unadvisable. "The President's Chancellary did inform us about Ms Fotyga's trip. However, we cannot say they did negotiatie it with us," Paczkowski said on Thursday. Radosław Sikorski told reporters that the Polish authorities "could use a greater dose of coordination, especially at such a delicate moment in Polish-American negotiations."

Whatever Ms Fotyga is negotiating has no value. This is the government's area of competence.

—Stefan Niesiołowski, vice-Marshall of Sejm.

On the other hand, the President's Chancellary Minister Maciej Łopiński said that "Minister Fotyga hasn't travelled to the US to negotiate about the shield, but to meet with some American diplomats. The shield was just one of the topics." The Minister has also confirmed once more that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been informed about the trip. "The President has made the decision on Friday and the Foreign Affairs Ministry has been informed on Friday as well," he said.

The vice-Secretary of State at the President's Chancellary, Robert Draba, has stated that "the President by no means interfere in the negotiations and he doesn't want to do so." He told the press that the information about President wanting to do harm to the negotiations are not true and that taking a double position on negotiations is out of the question. "The President has the right to be informed by the American side."

Anna Fotyga has been on her few-days-trip in the United States since Tuesday.