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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Polish Premier Sees 'Real Opportunity' for Better Ties

ReutersA woman attending a ceremony for the Katyn dead in Warsaw on Saturday.
WARSAW -- Poland's prime minister designate Donald Tusk voiced optimism that ties would improve with Russia if Moscow displayed a readiness to engage with Warsaw.

"I see a real opportunity," Tusk said at a news conference after Polish President Lech Kaczynski named him as prime minister.

"The goodwill must be symmetric and from both sides," Tusk added.

Relations have been strained over energy issues and a Russian ban on Polish meat imports. Russia also opposes the proposed placement of U.S. missile shield installations on Polish soil.

Poland's negotiator on the shield said Friday that talks with the United States might restart within weeks and a deal could be ready by spring.

"Realistically, at the end of November or early December, if the new government wants, we could come back to the talks," Witold Waszczykowski said.

The talks have been on hold since parliamentary elections last month.

Meanwhile, Kaczynski led a ceremony Friday and Saturday for 14,000 Polish officers killed in 1940 by the Soviet secret police.

Kaczynski honored army and police officers, as well as border and prison guards, at an open-air remembrance of the killings in the Katyn forest outside Smolensk and at other places in the then-Soviet Union.

"One might say that, after more than 67 years, this act has no meaning, but I think this is wrong," Kaczynski said. "This act is an act of remembrance owed to our heroes, their families, and above all to our entire nation."

The issue remains a sore point in already tense Polish-Russian relations because Moscow is refusing to recognize the killings as genocide.

Reuters, AP