Duda says he will talk with Zelensky whenever he has the opportunity

The president explained that Zelensky did not meet him, primarily due to the scheduled time of the meeting. Andrzej Lange/PAP

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has said he will talk to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky face to face "as friends" in order to resolve the "difficult situations" now dividing the two countries."

Polish-Ukrainian relations, which have grown strong owing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have come under strain recently owing to Poland prolonging a ban on some Ukrainian agri-food products.

The Polish government has argued that the ban is needed to protect farmers from Ukrainian imports but the embargo has angered Ukraine.

Speaking to news broadcaster TVN24 on Thursday Duda said: "Once there is an opportunity, I will definitely talk to him, but we certainly won't talk in the flash of the cameras. Only, as we have talked many times, we will talk face to face, just like two friends who want to solve various difficult situations talk to each other."

His words follow in the wake of comments made by Zelensky in New York, where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly, in which he said, in an apparent reference to Poland, that "some of our friends in Europe, play out solidarity in a political theatre — making a thriller from the grain."

"They may seem to play their own role but in fact they are helping set the stage to a Moscow actor."

In his interview for TVN Duda said that although Zelensky did not mention Poland "there was a suggestion and we all understood it."

Although the words made him feel "bitter" Duda said it should not affect broader Polish-Ukrainian relations.

"Calm down, please do not raise the temperature, because this is a dispute that concerns a certain part, a really small part of our relations," he said.

"Let's not allow it to affect the whole, because there is no justification for it, and only others will benefit from it," Duda added.

He went on to say that in recent days there have been many "over-interpretations, falsifications, manipulations of various types of statements, including simple untruths."

"I hear that today there is some information in the media that a meeting with President Zelensky and me took place," Duda said.

The president explained that Zelensky did not meet him, primarily due to the scheduled time of the meeting.

"It couldn't take place at that moment because I was standing on the platform giving a speech," he said.

Asked if Zelensky was still his friend, Duda replied "Of course".

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