France Backs Poland On Germany Talks

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

FRANCE is ready to support Poland's demands to take part in international talks that will consider the sticky issue of the Polish-German border. But it will do so while trying to preserve relations with West Germany, its most important political and economic partner. At talks that open in Bonn Wednesday on security issues raised by German reunification, France will ask that Poland join the so-called ``two plus four'' countries - the two Germanys, plus the four guarantors of Germany's postwar status - in discussions that directly affect it. Poland is particularly concerned that the Oder-Neisse line between East Germany and Poland, which has been the focus of considerable international debate in recent weeks, be guaranteed.

France's position, defined by President Fran,cois Mitterrand following talks here Friday with Polish President Wojciech Jaruselzki and Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, constitutes a bit of tightrope walking. It is an attempt to express support for Poland - a fellow victim of German aggression in World War II - while not going so far as to alienate West Germany.

Although endorsing Poland's ``association'' with the reunification talks, Mr. Mitterrand said he was not calling for Poland to join the four powers: the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France. Poland should not be ``within'' that group, but ``beside'' it. ``Poland is not a member of the six,'' he said. ``That is clear.''

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That position did not wholly meet Polish demands. Mr. Mazowiecki had publicly stated his country's insistence on participating fully in the discussions.

Mitterrand backed another Polish demand by calling for a specific international act guaranteeing the Oder-Neisse border, and saying it should be signed before the ``probable'' reunification of the two Germanys is complete. He said the resolution passed last Thursday by the West German Bundestag (Parliament), stating the Polish people's right to live within ``secure borders,'' did not go far enough in settling the issue.

At the same time, Mitterrand stated emphatically France's strong ties and friendship with Germany. He repeated his position, first stated in November, that Europe ``has nothing to fear'' in a reunited Germany.

In a clear reference to what has been internationally criticized as German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's ambiguous public stance on the border question, Mitterrand said he was stating France's position ``with clarity, and the French-German friendship should be strengthened by that.''

Mitterrand's spontaneous declaration of friendship with Germany is seen here as an attempt to keep the border issue in perspective, despite its undeniable symbolic importance to a continent with still-strong memories of war.

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