Lithuania president against any EU sanctions for Poland

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Andrzej Duda, Gitanas Naused

CAPTION CORRECTS THE NAME – Polish President Andrzej Duda, right, and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, left, attend a military welcome ceremony at the presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, July 16, 2019.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Lithuania’s new president spoke out Tuesday against the possibility of European Union sanctions on Poland for changes the country has made to its judiciary.

Gitanas Nauseda was sworn in last week and was making his first foreign trip to Poland for talks on European and bilateral issues with counterpart Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

He said the EU should seek an understanding of Poland’s actions, in which the government gained control of the judiciary, rather than pursue sanctions, which require the unanimity of all the other 27 members of the bloc.

Poland’s government argues that it’s fighting corruption and removing judges who served under the communist regime. It has reversed some of the changes under EU pressure.

Nauseda said that Poland “reacts and is ready to cooperate in the matter.”

“We should not be pursuing the path of sanctions but the path of a better mutual understanding,” he told a news conference.

EU leaders say changes the government made to the judiciary threaten Poland’s rule of law and have opened an unprecedented sanctioning procedure.

Duda called that a “form of oppression” and suggested it should stop.

The two also discussed challenges facing the EU, as it choses leaders for a new term, military cooperation and security in the region that borders Russia.

Duda invited Nauseda to observances Sept. 1 marking the Nazi German invasion that started World War II, and received an invitation to Vilnius in the fall for observances of the region’s 19th-century insurgency against Russia’s rule.

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