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Diplomacy

Komorowski, Tusk and Sikorski try to fix Poland-US mess

Poland’s president considers the US "a very important ally." Bronislaw Komorowski is attempting to do damage control after a magazine caught Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski making foul-mouthed statements about the US.

Earlier on Monday, Sikorski (pictured) had blamed organized crime for secret recordings in which he used vulgar terms to describe Poland's relationship with the United States. However, he offered no proof to back that up.

"The government was attacked by an organized crime group," Sikorski said Monday in Luxembourg. "We don't yet know who stands behind it."

According to the magazine Wprost, the recordings came from a "businessman" who did not do the taping in the private VIP rooms of Warsaw restaurants. In the transcript released by Wprost, Sikorski used vulgar terms while telling the former finance minister, Jacek Rostowski, that the alliance with the United States had not helped Poland.

"The Polish-American alliance isn't worth anything," Sikorski says in the transcripts. "It is even harmful because it gives Poland a false sense of security." Presumably including himself, Sikorski calls the Polish government collectively "suckers, total suckers."

On Monday, President Bronislaw Komorowski attempted to do a bit of damage control: "The United States is our very important ally and partner," he told reporters in Warsaw.

Previously, Wprost had released a conversation between central bank head Marek Belka and Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz in which they discuss how the institution could help the governing party win re-election in 2015, a seeming violation of the bank's independence. And now, the transcripts of the bugged restaurant conversations between top officials have further rocked Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government, leading critics to call for it to resign.

Also speaking Monday, Tusk said he would not dismiss the officials caught on tape in what he called a "criminal" action by "ill-intentioned people."

Tusk linked the illegal eavesdropping to Poland's stance on neighboring Ukraine, where it strongly opposes intervention by Russia.

"The aim is not to diminish the reputation of the ruling party, but of the state, at a critical moment in Europe and for the situation in Ukraine," he told reporters.

However, he did concede last week that snap elections may be necessary in the wake of the scandal regarding the central bank.

mkg/se (Reuters, AP)

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