Polish spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska confirmed on Monday that the US government had expressed “concerns and questions” about Poland’s controversial Holocaust legislation but denied that the US would penalize Warsaw over the issue.
“Bilateral strategic cooperation with the United States is not threatened, diplomatic contacts remain at the current level,” Kopcinska said.
Her remarks come in response to a report on Onet, a Polish news site, which claimed that according to certain documents, US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence refuse to host Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki over the law. The US also reportedly threatened to block the financing of joint military projects with Poland.
Kopcinska stated, however, that diplomatic channels remain open, noting that other government officials have visited Washington recently and will do so in the near future.
The law, which took effect this week, imposes prison sentences of up to three years for anyone in the world who attributes the crimes of Nazi Germany to Poland or accuses Poland of complicity in the Holocaust.
Just a few hours after the law took effect, the Polish League Against Defamation said it filed a complaint against Argentina’s Pagina 12 daily for violating the law.
In late January, the US State Department warned the Polish government that the law could have “repercussions … on Poland’s strategic interests and relationships.”
The Polish government responded harshly to criticism of the bill. At the Munich Security Conference last month. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defended the law by stating that Jews were also complicit in the Holocaust.
“It’s not going to punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukraine and German perpetrators,” Morawiecki said, earning the ire of many including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the statement “outrageous”.