Hillary ClintonOpinia.USOpinia.US SAN FRANCISCO — Due to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to prolong her stay in the Middle East, her scheduled meeting in Washington with visiting Polish foreign minister RadosÅ‚aw Sikorski has been cancelled. The announcement of the cancellation was made Tuesday by the State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly

Tomorrow, of course, she has a meeting with President Mubarak. Obviously, we’ve had to juggle her schedule for tomorrow, and these commitments mean that unfortunately, she’s unable to meet with Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski. The Secretary looks forward to an early rescheduling of this meeting and a re-launch of our strategic dialogue with Poland.

The cancellation of the meeting is another diplomatic setback for Poland in her relations with the Obama administration. President Obama declined the Polish government’s invitation to attend the official observances in Gdansk of the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II. He later cancelled U.S. plans to place anti-ballistic missile defense system (BMD) in Poland. The BMD system was designed to protect Europe and the U.S. from Iranian missiles, but Polish leaders wanted it also as an extra guarantee of America’s commitment to defend Poland against possible intimidation from Russia. President Obama made the missile shield removal announcement on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, causing outrage among many Poles.

The White House later sent Vice President Biden on a visit to Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic to reassure the nervous Central European NATO allies of America’s continued defense obligations. Soon afterwards, however, President Obama’s new ambassador to Warsaw, Lee A. Feinstein, created another diplomatic incident by revealing in a TV interview the nature of sensitive U.S.-Polish negotiations about increasing the level of Polish troops in Afghanistan. Polish government officials were furious. The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the State Department blamed it on a translation error.

Prior to Foreign Minister Sikorski’s visit to Washington, Polish media reported that during military maneuvers, held in Belarus in September, Russian forces practiced launching an attack on Poland. According to these reports, which could not be independently confirmed, the Russian military exercises included a simulated nuclear strike. Obama administration officials did not react to these news reports. During previous U.S. administrations, such news would normally elicit an official U.S. government response with a warning against raising military and political tensions in the region.

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