Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 11

On January 14-15 in Warsaw Presidents Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine and Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland conferred on bilateral cooperation projects and on their countries’ relations with the European Union (EU), of which Poland is a prospective full member. The presidents agreed to finalize the plan of the Ukraine-Poland pipeline for the transit of Caspian oil and to ask the European Union to support the project. On another point of considerable concern to Ukraine, Kwasniewski reaffirmed Poland’s intentions to proceed slowly in introducing EU visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens, and to seek some kind of preferential treatment for Ukrainians after Poland has joined the EU visa system.

Kuchma and Kwasniewski described their relationship in the post-Soviet era as a counterpart to that of French and German leaders in the post-World War II era. In both cases, the leaders’ personal rapport highlighted the historic reconciliation of formerly enemy nations. The Ukrainian and Polish presidents met six times in 1998 and are due to meet again in May in the western Ukrainian, formerly Polish, city of Lviv. Kyiv and Warsaw have sought to turn the long-disputed Lviv into a symbol of their reconciliation. That symbolism–but not the relationship–was briefly tarnished last year by the desecration of a Polish military cemetery in the city (UNIAN, DINAU, Ukrainian Television, January 15). –VS