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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Polish authorities threatened to withhold meetings over ‘LGBT-free’ zone visit, French minister says

PARIS — French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune has accused Polish authorities of saying they would withhold official meetings during his visit to Poland earlier this week if he went to a so-called LGBT-free zone.

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“I indicated to the Polish authorities that I would go to a town called Kraśnik, they didn’t want me to go. They didn’t bar me physically from going, it was political pressure, by indicating that if I went ahead there would be no official meetings or political meetings,” Beaune said Thursday on France Inter radio.

Asked in a follow-up question if he was told this would mean no ministerial meetings, Beaune said: “Exactly.”

This was a different version of events than that presented by Beaune and his team on Monday when they indicated that Polish authorities had cited the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to stymie the visit.

“Polish authorities recently indicated to me that they weren’t capable of planning this visit … they put forward security issues tied to the health measures in place in the country,” Beaune told French publication L’Obs on Monday.

But even that milder version was denied at the time by Polish authorities.

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“This is clearly not true. None of the Polish authorities forbade or prevented the French deputy minister from visiting Kraśnik,” Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk tweeted on Tuesday.

Since 2019, local officials throughout Poland have created dozens of largely symbolic “LGBT-ideology free” zones through charters aimed at stigmatizing LGBTQ people. The government insists the measures are misunderstood outside the country.

The Polish government did not respond to a request for comment on Beaune’s latest accusations.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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