The fifth round of the talks between Poland and West Germany aimed at settling differences over Poland's Oder-Neisse frontier -- the main obstacle in the way of better relations between the two countries -- opened in Warsaw on Thursday (July 23).
The fifth round of the talks between Poland and West Germany aimed at settling differences over Poland's Oder-Neisse frontier -- the main obstacle in the way of better relations between the two countries -- opened in Warsaw on Thursday (July 23). The delegates met in plenary session for 80 minutes before breaking up into group discussions for the afternoon.
West German special negotiator Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz and Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Jozef Winiewicz headed their country's delegations at the talks, which are expected to end on Friday (24 July). It is the fifth round in a dialogue opened last February, just three months after Chancellor Willy Brandt's socialist-led Government took office, to try to improve relations scarred by Polish suffering under Nazi occupation in World War Two and by post-war east-west tensions.
Bonn originally offered a non-agression treaty expressing respect for Poland's frontier in the west, which gave Poland large areas of former German territory.
But Poland, conscious of its precarious position between West Germany and the USSR, continued to be concerned over its security. It has so far insisted on formal recognition of its frontier before relations with Bonn can be normalised.
The frontier, established after World War Two, runs along the Oder and Neisse rivers between Poland and East Germany, and has never been officially recognised by West Germany. A Bonn report said West Germany was now pursuing a formula making a frontier settlement the core of a proposed treaty. However, legal complications arise from the 1945 Potsdam Agreement concluded at the end of the war by the Soviet Union, United States and Britain. As well as moving Poland's frontier westwards, giving it large areas of German territory for land in the east surrendered to the Soviet Union, the Potsdam accord said post-war borders can only be fixed in a general peace treaty.
No official communique was released after the day's talks.