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Poland positively assesses plans to expand the gas pipeline from Russia
Poland positively assesses plans to expand the gas pipeline from Russia, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski told journalists. He noted that Russian-Polish negotiations on this issue have recently been completed. "A good assessment from the Polish side as regards expansion of the gas pipeline and related infrastructure in Poland," said the president. He said the issue of bilateral cooperation in energy and deliveries of energy resources were discussed at his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Polish leader said that for the seven months of 2004, Polish exports to Russia have increased by 60%, whereas deliveries of production from Russia to Poland have increased by 14%. Energy carriers constitute 80% of Russian exports to Poland. Poland delivers machines and equipment, timber and plastics, foodstuffs. The Polish president said the Russian Lukoil company will probably privatize an oil-processing plant in Gdansk. "If this plant is privatized, the Russian side has all grounds to take part in this process," he said, commenting on Lukoil's attempt to take part in the privatization of this plant. Mr. Kwasniewski said there is no bias in regard to Russian companies in Poland. "We are absolutely open for Russian capital, Ukrainian and other former USSR countries' provided this process takes place by single criteria and is transparent. Who is the best is the best," said the Polish president. He noted that among Polish politicians, privatization as such creates "a very big tension." He called on potential participants of privatization in Poland to be more patient, which will help them go through this procedure. The Polish president spoke for liberalization of the visa system with Russia. "You are asking me whether I agree with the liberalization of the visa system between our countries? Of course I do," he told a Moscow press conference. Mr. Kwasniewski recalled that as regards the visa system, Poland is guided by the Schengen agreements. "We have done much to simplify the procedure of receiving our visa," said the Polish president. "Where we expected many problems - the Kaliningrad region [Russian exclave on the Baltics], we, fortunately, had no difficulties." Mr. Kwasniewski also said that Russia promises Poland that it will submit documents on the investigation of the "Katyn massacre." He said this topic was touched upon at his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We received information that on September 21, the investigation on the Katyn massacre ended and now documents may be taken for consideration in the institute of national memory [Poland] after they are declassified. And we received such promises," said Mr. Kwasniewski. In his opinion, the Katyn tragedy case must not overburden Russian-Polish relations. "We arrived at the conclusion that the institute of national memory and the prosecutor's office are to deal with it, and this issue shouldn't overburden Polish-Russian relations and is not to be decided at the level of presidents. We only have to create conditions for this," said Mr. Kwasniewski. The Katyn forest, 14 kilometers west of Smolensk (200 km west of Moscow) became the place where NKVD officials shot over 14,000 Polish officers interned in fall 1939 to the territory of the USSR. Executions on the territory of Katyn were also conducted by German occupants during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).
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