Poland's Sikorski: Russia would lose in confrontation with the West

Other News Materials 27 August 2008 16:33 (UTC +04:00)

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski has said he'd prefer Russia to work with the West, but Russia would lose again if it came to confrontation, reported dpa.

"As Europe, we're ten times richer than Russia and along with the United States twenty times," Sikorski told the daily Dziennik on Wednesday. "I'd prefer if Russia worked together and integrated itself with the wider-known West, but if it comes to confrontation, then it will lose again."

Sikorski's comments came a day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev formally recognized Georgia's rebel regions as independent, defying Western criticism. Earlier this month Abkhazia and South Ossetia fuelled a brief but bloody Russia-Georgia conflict.

Sikorski also reaffirmed Poland's support for Georgia's territorial integrity, saying an upcoming meeting of European Union leaders on the topic will be an "important test" in its ability to conduct external politics.

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk is slated to attend the upcoming EU summit on Georgia and will meet with Polish President Lech Kaczynski before the summit. A top aide to the prime minister said "it would be good" to unify their different viewpoints, reported the Polish Press Agency.

Kaczynski has come out strongly in support of Georgia and harshly condemned Russia for "imperialism," while Tusk has been more diplomatic, supporting a French-Russian plan to resolve the conflict.

The United States slammed Medvedev's recognition of the breakaway territories, while the European Union reaffirmed support for Georgia's territorial integrity.

Medvedev stressed that Russia has long held back from recognizing the regions' pleas for independence, but Georgia's attack on South Ossetia had forced its hand.

The EU and the entire West will find ways to work with Russia, Sikorski said, and Polish-Russian diplomacy is still possible.

"Heads of France, Germany, the US, Turkey and Ukraine have been in Russia," Sikorski told Dziennik. "Poland shouldn't be the only nation that doesn't speak with its neighbour. I think that Russia should also care for dialogue with a nation that's now listened to on Eastern matters more carefully than ever before."