Poland calls on Russia to be 'honest' in energy talks

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The Independent Online

Russia must be honest in its energy negotiations with European Union nations, Poland's President has insisted, saying Moscow had worked in the past on the basis of fiction.

President Lech Kaczynski and Tony Blair said after a meeting in Downing Street that energy security was a key focus of their discussions.

Mr Kaczynski said his country had much experience in dealing with Moscow and accused Russia of not always playing straight. He warned that Russia's talks with Europe over energy could be difficult.

"Finding our common value set will not be simple, but our starting point must be the facts," he said at a news conference with Mr Blair. "One should talk to Russia [in a way] which is firm, resolved and strong."

Poland is heavily dependent on oil and gas from Russia, and has accused Moscow of using its vast energy wealth to politically manipulate countries in eastern Europe that depend on its supplies. Gas and oil flows to Poland were hit when Moscow briefly cut gas deliveries to Ukraine in January. "It is massively to our benefit that Europe takes a common line on energy policy," Mr Blair said.

The two leaders said they were also discussing Iraq and Afghanistan, where Poland and Britain both have troops.