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Poland recalls ambassador to Czech Republic over Turów mine comments

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By Euronews  with AP
The Turow lignite coal mine is located near the Polish border town of Bogatynia.
The Turow lignite coal mine is located near the Polish border town of Bogatynia.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File

Poland has recalled its new ambassador to the Czech Republic for criticising the country's approach to a coal mine dispute.

Ambassador Miroslaw Jasinski has faced backlash for his remarks related to the Turów mine, located near the Czech border.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Jasinski said Poland had shown a "lack of empathy, a lack of understanding and a lack of will to open a dialogue" on the matter.

His remarks were later described as "extremely irresponsible" by Warsaw on Thursday.

Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller stated that every diplomat should protect Poland’s interests.

Czech authorities have long protested against the state-run Turów lignite mine, saying it negatively impacts the environment and drains water from local villages.

Months of talks between the Czech and Polish environment ministers have failed to resolve the dispute despite repeated declarations from Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki that an agreement was close.

In October, the European Court of Justice also fined Poland €500,000 per day for failing to heed its May injunction to immediately close the Turów mine.

Poland’s government has argued the vast, open-pit mine fuels a power plant that generates some 7% of the nation’s energy and has refused to shut it down.

Warsaw also is refusing to pay the fine, saying the EU court had no authority to impose it.

Jasinski -- who only became Poland’s ambassador to Prague last month -- blamed the mine’s management for failing to solve the conflict and allowing it to grow into a government-level dispute.

“Let us be honest and admit that, still, the reason for the dispute was the arrogance of some people,” Jasinski told Deutsche Welle.