No ultimatum by US over anti-defamation law: Polish deputy FM
PR dla Zagranicy
A Polish deputy foreign minister has denied a report that America has decided the US president and vice president will not meet top leaders from Poland until Warsaw amends a contested law on Holocaust responsibility.
Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki was responding to a report by the onet.pl news website which claimed that Polish leaders have unofficially been designated "persona non grata" in the White House.
Onet.pl commented that Poland’s relations with the United States have not been so strained for the last quarter of a century.
The website added that the United States was threatening to block the financing of joint military projects.
But Cichocki told private broadcaster TVN24: “It's not true. There was no ultimatum of this kind.”
US ‘still has doubts’
He added: “The US side consistently -- this is not a surprise for us -- expressed concern [and asked] questions about the [Polish] law still at the bill stage. It [the US] still has doubts. We are in touch with American diplomats; in those contacts there is no language of ultimatum."
Despite pressure from the United States and Israel, Polish President Andrzej Duda last month signed into force a law that could impose a jail term on anyone who accuses Poland of being complicit in Nazi German crimes.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in February that the law “adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry.”
The new Polish law says academic research and artistic expression are exempt from penalties.
In Poland, the new rules are seen as a way of fighting the use of the phrase “Polish death camps,” which many say implies the country's involvement in the Holocaust.
Poland has long fought the use of such phrases, which have often appeared in foreign media in relation to Nazi German-run extermination camps located in occupied Polish territory during World War II.
But commentators have said that Israel is concerned that the new law could mean penalties for anyone who criticises individual Poles' role in the Holocaust.
Public broadcaster Polish Radio has launched a new website, GermanDeathCamps.info, aimed at debunking misconceptions about Poland’s role in the Holocaust.