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Donald Tusk - a friend of Russia?

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Yelena Shesternina) - Poland's new Prime Minister Donald Tusk made his first address to the Sejm yesterday.

In his speech, he promised to correct the mistakes of the previous government, primarily, the deterioration of relations with eastern and western neighbors.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski, whose twin brother Yaroslaw lost the early parliamentary elections, did not hear the speech about the plans of his new cabinet. Instead, he went to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Rose Revolution in Georgia.

Although this is an important date, Lech Kaczynski could have delayed his trip. On Friday, the Civil Platform and the Polish Peasant Party established a coalition in the Sejm. The prime minister promised that it would rule on the basis of confidence and dialogue.

The dialogue has already been launched, and not only in Poland. Even without waiting for the prime minister's program speech, several new members of the Polish cabinet hastened to distance themselves from the "achievements" of their predecessors. The new heads of the foreign and agricultural ministries - Radoslaw Sikorski and Marek Sawicki - were especially eloquent. Moscow was pleased to hear what they said.

Sikorski said that he was ready to conduct direct talks with Kremlin officials on the deployment of American ABM components on Polish territory. They didn't even take offense (or probably notice) when he said that "Warsaw perceives Russia as it is." They paid more attention to the other part of his statement: "We must resume dialogue with Russia. We want to deal with it."

Donald Tusk also hinted that the ABM issue has not been finalized and, hence, Moscow has a chance to persuade Warsaw not to host the American missile interceptors. He said: "For the time being we do not have a strict doctrine on the American base deployment. Our decision will be based on common sense."

He made this statement in order to reassure Moscow and his own compatriots, more than half of whom are resolutely against Washington's plans. It looks like now he is ready to listen to what Moscow has to say before resuming talks with the Americans. At any rate, Tusk stated his "readiness to resume dialogue with the United States after consultations with NATO and Poland's neighbors."

Minister of Agriculture Marek Sawicki welcomed Vladimir Putin's proposal to come to Moscow to discuss the possibility of lifting the ban on meat supplies.

Summing up the new policy towards Russia in the Sejm, Prime Minister Tusk told his ministers that Poland has "its own views on the situation in Russia," which should not stand in the way of normalizing bilateral relations. "Otherwise, the reputation of both countries will be discredited," he warned.

But these optimistic statements should not provoke any illusions. The talks on ABMs, meat ban and the Warsaw-blocked fundamental treaty with the European Union can be taken out of the deadlock into which they were driven by the previous cabinet.

But the Kremlin is well aware that Tusk is not a friend of Moscow. He will not restore relations with Russia to the detriment of the Polish national interests. Ukraine is one example. The prime minister promised to give "all-round support to Kiev's pro-European aspirations." He did not mean so much integration into the European Union (Brussels has made it clear more than once that this will not happen in the foreseeable future), as the NATO entry. Poland will try to get Georgia into the bloc as well.

Tusk mentioned one more problem in bilateral relations. Warsaw may "adjust its position" on oil and gas supplies. He meant primarily Yaroslaw Kaczynski's decision to build a terminal on the Baltic coast - in the event that Moscow stops gas supplies via the Yamal-Europe pipeline. The prime minister did not promise to give up the plans for its construction but said that he "will be seeking a solution in Polish interests and will consider political aspects of relations with the neighbors."

Thus, Moscow should be directly interested in improving these political aspects.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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