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Polish FM Highlights Security, Russian Aggression

Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski bottom, standing) delivers an annual policy speech in parliament in Warsaw, Poland, Feb. 9, 2017.

Poland's foreign minister said Thursday that it is a priority for the country to strengthen the cooperation of Americans and Europeans in the area of security and that he is concerned about the “aggressive policies of Russia in Eastern Europe.”

Witold Waszczykowski made his remarks during a traditional yearly address to parliament. Among those in the audience were President Andrzej Duda and foreign diplomats.

He said despite Russian polices he still sees a role for dialogue.

Waszczykowski also said Poland's ties are changing with Belarus, the authoritarian state on Poland's eastern border, noting that there have been more visits and meetings with Belarusian officials.

It marks a shift in Poland's foreign policy under the conservative government, which believes that the earlier policy of shunning Belarusian leaders while supporting democratic opposition groups was ineffective.

He also touched on Brexit, saying his government is making it a priority to protect the rights acquired by Polish citizens living in the U.K. and to put Polish interests on the agenda in discussions on the shape of the EU post-Brexit.

He said that Poland would play a constructive role in those discussions.

“The priority of the government is to repair the European Union, not to dismantle it,” he said.