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Counselor Derek Chollet, a senior policy advisor to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, will travel to Poland on Wednesday- the US Department of State announced in a press release on July 19.
The American diplomat is staying in Warsaw until Friday. Earlier, on July 20-21, he will travel to Kyiv.
Chollet’s visit to Kyiv and Warsaw
During his diplomatic visit to the region, Mr Chollet is supposed to discuss a range of security issues, including concerns about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and energy security in general, as well as ongoing reforms.
It is an unmistakable sign that the Biden administration, who recently suspended sanctions against key stakeholders involved in the controversial Russian-German energy project, understands the concerns voiced by Warsaw and Kyiv.
In Poland, Counselor Chollet will meet with senior government officials and civil society representatives to discuss "strategic bilateral and regional issues, as well as our shared commitment to democratic values and institutions".
A meeting with business leaders is scheduled as well.
In Ukraine, Mr Chollet will discuss "U.S. support for Ukraine’s efforts to counter Russia’s aggression and to further advance economic and anti-corruption reforms". Just like in Poland, he will also meet with members of the business community.
Growing concern over Poland’s controversial new media ownership draft bill
The visit to Warsaw comes amid increased efforts of Poland’s ruling party to pass a bill targeting the American-owned news channel TVN. The Parliament may vote on it on Wednesday, the day Mr Chollet is scheduled to arrive in Poland. American officials have repeatedly signaled serious concern about the new draft legislation.
"The US has been observing the TVN licensing process and the newly proposed legislation with rising concern. TVN has been an essential part of the Polish media landscape for over 20 years. Unfettered press is crucial for democracy"- Bix Aliu, who heads the American embassy in Warsaw in the absence of the new ambassador, wrote on Twitter shortly after the draft bill was announced.
In a similar vein, the US State Department’s Spokesperson, Ned Price, tweeted: "Strong democracies welcome a free and independent press. Diverse voices and independent viewpoints keep the public informed and the government accountable – they are essential to democracies, including Poland and the United States".
Matthew Boyse, deputy assistant secretary of state of the United States specializing in relations with Central and Eastern Europe, visited Warsaw last week.
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