Germany rejects Polish call for more WWII reparations

Agreement made in 1953 remains binding, German official says.

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German and Polish flags
German and Polish flags
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Germany dismissed on Friday Poland's threat to demand new talks over World War II reparations from Berlin, saying the issue had already been settled in 1953.

"Poland made a binding decision in August 1953... to relinquish demands for further war reparations," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said, adding that in the view of Berlin, "this issue was therefore settled both legally and politically."

Seibert said that Germany fully recognized its responsibility in World War II, while emphasizing that it had also paid "considerable reparations for overall war damages" to Poland.

The 1953 agreement on reparations signed by Warsaw's communist authorities renounced further claims against Germany.

But Poland's current right-wing government disputes the validity of the post-war deal, saying it was made under the diktat of the Soviet Union.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said Thursday that she believed her country had the right to demand further reparations from Germany.

"The position of the Polish government on war reparations will be officially expressed when a political decision is taken," she said in a radio interview. "In my opinion, Poland has the right to this and the Polish state has the right to ask for them."

"We are ready to go ahead with this procedure."

Poland's foreign and interior ministers have estimated potential reparations reaching as high as $1 trillion (830 billion euros).

Six million Polish citizens, including about three million of Jewish origin, were killed under the Nazi occupation of 1939-45, and Warsaw was virtually razed.