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Poland to replace ambassadors in over 50 countries

Prime Minister Donald Tusk could face opposition from President Andrzej Duda over the proposed move

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has decided to recall more than 50 of the country’s ambassadors and will withdraw around a dozen candidates put forward by the previous government in Warsaw, according to a statement issued on Wednesday.

Recall procedures have been launched following their approval by Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The changes will help address the challenges facing Poland’s foreign policy “in a better, more professional manner,” the Foreign Ministry wrote, expressing hope that “key authorities in the country will work together on this issue.”

President Andrzej Duda, however, has said it is not possible to cancel or appoint an ambassador without presidential approval.

Tusk and Duda have had bitter disagreements on domestic issues such as judicial reforms, the government’s takeover of public media, and the future of large-scale investment projects.

READ MORE: Polish foreign minister backs sending NATO troops to Ukraine

One day previously, Tusk announced on national television that he and Sikorski would ask the president for a “massive change in embassies.”

“If there is no other option, we will recall ambassadors to the country and until the president’s position changes, or until the president changes, diplomats currently acting as charge d’affaires will serve as ambassadors,” Tusk insisted. “Either way, we have to improve and build a team loyal to the Polish state.”

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He claimed the move is “not a retaliation” and that many ambassadors “certainly deserved to continue their work.”

Duda clashed with the newly elected pro-EU prime minister and his government earlier this year when the president vowed not to pass any bills by Tusk’s new cabinet. A major point of contention was the arrest of former Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his deputy, after a legal case against them was reopened at the behest of Tusk’s government. The pair had previously been tried for abuse of power, but received a pardon in 2015, which Tusk’s cabinet insisted was not within the president’s rights to issue.

Tusk was sworn in at the end of last year, following the failure of the previous prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, to secure a vote of confidence in parliament.


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