Polish FM admits tensions with U.S. over Holocaust law

Poland’s foreign minister acknowledges tensions in U.S.-Polish relationship over Holocaust law, denies Washington imposing sanctions.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz

Poland’s foreign minister on Friday 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, reported The Associated Press.

The law, which was approved by the Polish Senate and then signed by the president, allows a sentence of up to three years in prison for anyone ascribing "responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich." It applies to both citizens of Poland as well as foreign citizens.

Poland's right-wing government has faced international criticism over the law, which was meant to protect Poland from false accusations of complicity in the Holocaust.

Among others, the Polish law has been criticized by the U.S. State Department, which warned it could violate free speech.

A Polish news portal, Onet.pl, reported earlier this week 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.

Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz largely confirmed that on Friday, though he characterized 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 stressed that there was no mention of sanctions and denied the U.S. position as meaning that diplomatic ties are somehow “frozen,” as some reports claimed.

“There is nothing in it that could raise concerns,” Czaputowicz said of the document, according to AP.

He also said prosecutors are investigating the leak of the document, “which should not have been made available to journalists.”

“The United States has concerns which I hope the Constitutional Tribunal will resolve,” Czaputowicz added.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)