The Polish ambassador to Tehran says Poland has always tried to serve as a bridge between Iran and the European Union.
“Being an influential member of the European Union, we encourage both sides to develop European-Iranian relations in spirit of mutual respect and friendship,” Ambassador Juliusz Gojlo said in an interview with the Tehran Times.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: What is the significance of Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski’s planned visit to Iran?
A: This year Poland and Iran celebrate the 540th anniversary of the first diplomatic exchanges between both countries – a historical achievement that underscores our tradition of openness and tolerance. In Poland we always think about future but at the same time we never forget about our history, our past. I think that this sentence could be a motto of the visit of the Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to Iran.
Minster Sikorski is coming to Iran on February 28, he will start his trip in Isfahan, a city which in Poland remains famous as a safe-haven for thousands of Polish children who lived there during the Second World War, when Iran hosted about 120 thousands of Polish refuges. After Isfahan he will stay in Tehran till March 2 to conduct talks about political, economic and cultural relations with Iran with President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other Iranian officials.
Q: What does Sikorski’s trip signify?
A: The visit shows that Poland wants to strengthen our relations. Minister Sikorski during his stay in Iran will focus on how to develop the strong foundation of friendship between our countries and peoples – for the benefit of our countries, regional powerhouses and key international actors, and the global community as a whole.
The Polish Foreign Minister is especially interested in encouraging both sides, in the year of 540th anniversary of the first diplomatic interactions between Poland and Iran, to develop trade exchange as both nations have done for centuries. To this end, Poland will soon be sending a trade delegation to Iran, headed by our deputy prime minister and comprising of 50 Polish business leaders. The visit will showcase the powerful economic component of Polish-Iranian relations.
Q: What is your assessment of the Geneva nuclear deal signed between Iran and the 5+1 group?
A: Poland has welcomed the Geneva agreement, as member of the IAEA Board of Governors and party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), we take the position that with respect to solving the problem of Iran’s nuclear programme there is no viable alternative to dialogue, which the parties need to hold with a sense of great responsibility for the international order and world peace.
We see these recent developments as vital first steps towards addressing in a comprehensive manner the issue of Iran’s atomic programme, which also demonstrates the parties’ willingness to come up with compromise solutions through constructive dialogue. At the same time, we are convinced that the agreement opens the way for a gradual normalization of relations between Iran and the international community.
Q: As an important member of the European Union how can Poland facilitate relations between Tehran and the EU?
A: Mindful of the tradition spanning over 500 years of good relations with Iran, Poland has always tried to serve as a bridge between Iran and the European Union. In our joint history we can find several unique moments that have showed our mutual respect and friendship. Being an influential member of the European Union, we encourage both sides to develop European-Iranian relations in spirit of mutual respect and friendship, on the model of Polish-Iranian relations.
Q: What are the potential areas of cooperation between Iran and Poland?
A: There is room for cooperation in the areas of heavy industry, oil and gas, petrochemicals, and green technology.
Since visit to Tehran of the deputy Minister of Economy Mr. Andrzej Dycha in February 2013, Poland has been following strategy of boosting economic cooperation with Iran in sectors which are not under international restrictions. Poland sees Iran as a market with big opportunities. Currently, we see potential in such fields as e.g. agriculture (including machinery), pharmaceutical and medical products and green technology. Poland has got a significant experience in coal mining, in the past Polish companies had been active in Iran, thus this field also should be taken into consideration. In such fields as oil and gas or petrochemicals Poland has to comply with international regulations, which cannot be breached by our companies. However, in case of easing of sanctions in those sectors, Poland certainly will be interested in looking for business opportunities in Iran.
Q: Please explain about cultural cooperation between the two states as well.
A: The cultural cooperation is one of the most important pillars in our bilateral relations. The Polish Embassy in Tehran tries to show to the Iranian audience the Polish culture and art – we try to promote our theater, music and cinema in Iran.
Polish students can study the Persian language and the Persian culture in three universities: in Warsaw, Cracow and Poznan. We do hope that soon the Polish side, together with Iranian authorities, will be able to open classes of Polish language in Iran. We are also ready to send our archeologists and conservators to help their Iranian colleagues to preserve your heritage.
We also hope that this year we will sign a new agreement on cooperation in the fields of culture, education and science.
A: Poland supports Ukraine’s pro-European aspirations and the building of its state based on the rule of law. We hope for democratization, the start of reforms and a renewal of public life in line with the expectations of the Ukrainian people.
We appeal for all the changes to be carried out by respecting Ukraine’s independence, its sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of its borders. We hope that the process of changes will be conducted in a spirit of compromise, without resorting to acts of violence and lawlessness.
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and French and German foreign ministers went to Kyiv on a mediation mission organized on the behalf of the European Union. This visit of Mr. Radoslaw Sikorski has cast light on the importance Ukraine has for Poland.