Will there be a meeting between the presidents of Poland and Ukraine?

President Andrzej Duda supports the Polish government’s position on Ukrainian grain, Paweł Szrot, head of the President’s Cabinet, said on RMF FM on Tuesday. When asked if a meeting between Andrzej Duda and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was possible, he said it was expected.

The president’s chief of staff said he would not provide further information about the potential meeting for security reasons.

Srod was asked about Tuesday’s decision by the Council of Ministers to call on the European Commission to extend the ban on grain imports from Ukraine after September 15 this year. Otherwise, Poland will independently introduce such a ban at the national level – Prime Minister Chancellor announced on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting.

As stressed, the government calls on the European Commission to: extend the ban on imports of four agricultural products from Ukraine after September 15, 2023: wheat, corn, rapeseed (kolsa) and sunflower seeds; and take immediate action to develop solutions that allow sustainable and effective operation of local producers in Poland and the EU. If the European Commission does not extend the ban on grain imports from Ukraine after September 15, Poland will introduce such a ban at the national level, it was stressed. Also, the embargo will remain in effect until agricultural relations between Poland and Ukraine are regulated.

When asked if President Duda supported the Polish government’s position of unilaterally extending the embargo on Ukrainian food, Srod replied: “Yes, of course.”

Poland supports Ukraine fighting for its freedom and independence, as it is to a large extent a matter of Polish national interest. Pursuing this national interest, Poland decided to close the Polish market to Ukrainian grain because Poland did not need this grain. Countries that are starving as a result of the chaos related to Russian aggression against Ukraine need this grain – Africa and the Middle East (…) The transfer of this Ukrainian grain to these countries via Poland should be facilitated.

– pointed out the head of the presidential office.

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The minister was also asked if the entire EU is likely to extend the current ban.

This can be partially indicated by the action of (PO President) Donald Tusk and candidate from his list (MP) Michael Kolodzijczak (AgroUnia President) in this matter. I think Donald Tusk would not have intervened in this matter if he did not believe that the EU would respond positively to the demands of the Polish government.

– pointed out Srod.

He added that he was not going to decide “which way this situation will go.”

When asked how he would describe Polish-Ukrainian relations, Srod said that in his opinion they are good, with Poland still supporting Ukraine in defending its freedom and independence. He stressed that this does not change the fact that big countries like Poland and Ukraine have their own interests, as Ukrainian and Polish politicians – including President Andrzej Duda – make clear.

Will there be a meeting between Duda and Zelensky?

When asked when the meeting between President Andrzej Duda and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take place, Szrot said:

I don’t want to judge here because I have my own knowledge, but there are various security considerations at play as well.

When asked again about whether to expect a Duda-Zełenski meeting and its possible date, Szrot said:

You can expect (it). President Zelensky is the leader of a country at war and vulnerable to terrorist attacks by Russia.

A ban on wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower imports from Ukraine to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia was introduced by the European Commission at the beginning of May this year. As a result of the agreement with these countries on Ukrainian agro-food products. The ban was initially imposed till June 5 and later extended till September 15. Leading countries are allowed to transport grain through so-called territories.

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