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Poland says Germany rejected WWII reparations talks

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WARSAW (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Germany has rejected the latest push by the Polish nationalist government for huge reparations for World War II, saying in response to a diplomatic note that the matter was closed, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the German foreign ministry said it had responded to a letter sent by Poland on the matter in October and did not comment on the content of the diplomatic correspondence.

Poland estimates World War II losses caused by Germany at 6.2 trillion zlotys ($1.4 trillion) and has demanded reparations, but Berlin has repeatedly said that all financial claims relating to the war have been settled.

“This response, to sum up, shows an absolutely disrespectful attitude towards Poland and the Poles,” said Arkadiusz Mularczyk, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister, in an interview with the Polish News Agency.

“Germany does not pursue a friendly policy towards Poland, it wants to build its sphere of influence here and treat Poland as a vassal state.”

When asked about further dialogue with Germany on reparations, Mularczyk said it would continue “through international organisations”.

Some six million Poles, including three million Polish Jews, were killed during the war, and Warsaw was razed following a 1944 uprising in which some 200,000 civilians died.

In 1953, Poland’s then communist rulers renounced all demands for war reparations under pressure from the Soviet Union, which wanted to free East Germany, also a Soviet satellite, of all responsibility.

Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party says the deal is invalid because Poland has been unable to negotiate a fair compensation. He has revived reparations claims since he took power in 2015 and has made promoting wartime Poland’s victimhood central to his call for nationalism.

The combative stance towards Germany, often used by PiS to mobilize its constituency, has strained relations with Berlin.

At a joint press conference with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau last October, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the pain Germany caused during World War II was “passed down from generation to generation” in Poland, but that the issue of reparations has been closed.

($1 = 4.4324 zlotys)

(Reporting by Alan Charlish; Additional reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Paul Simao and Mark Potter)