Aides to Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday confirmed media reports that the president recently refused to accept a call from then-U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was dismissed on Tuesday by President Donald Trump.
Tillerson was calling to discuss with Duda possible U.S. action over a new Polish law that makes it a crime to falsely attribute the Holocaust crimes of Nazi Germany to Poland and which the U.S. warned could violate free speech, reported The Associated Press.
Some days later, Duda endorsed the law, but also asked a top court to check if. The verdict may take months to come.
Asked about the reports Tuesday, Duda’s top aide, Andrzej Dera, said that “according to diplomacy’s rules” an official holding the rank of a minister does not make calls to a president.
Another Duda aide, Pawel Mucha, also would not deny the reports but insisted that Poland-U.S. relations are “strategically close.”
Last week, Poland’s foreign minister acknowledged that there were tensions in the U.S.-Polish relationship over his country’s controversial Holocaust law, but denied suggestions in Polish media that Washington is imposing “sanctions” on his country.
The comments by Minister Jacek Czaputowicz came after a Polish news portal reported that it had seen an internal Foreign Ministry document from February. It said the document revealed that Warsaw was informed by the U.S. administration that the Polish president and prime minister should not expect meetings with the U.S. president or vice president until the matter is resolved.
Czaputowicz described the U.S. message as being: “It would be good if meetings at the highest level could take place in an atmosphere when these issues are resolved.”
He denied, however, that diplomatic ties were somehow “frozen”, according to AP.