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Government Bars Walesa Appeal on U.S. Sanctions

October 17, 1986

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Government censors blocked publication of an appeal by Solidarity founder Lech Walesa and nine Polish intellectuals urging Washington to end its economic sanctions against Poland, sources said Friday.

The Krakow Tygodnik Powszechny, an independent Roman Catholic weekly, had hoped to publish the statement last Wednesday but the local censor’s office did not give its approval on time, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The newspaper held intensive negotiations with the main censorship office Thursday in Warsaw, where permission to publish the statement was finally refused, according to the sources.

The appeal, made available to Western news agencies, called on President Reagan to restore to Poland most-favored nation trading status and access to guaranteed financial credits. It said lifting the sanctions was indispensable for Poland’s economic recovery.

The statement was signed by Walesa, academecians, lay Roman Catholics and Solidarity advisers. The newspaper’s editor, Jerzy Turowicz, was among the signers.

Opposition sources said it appeared publication was blocked because the statement was signed by Walesa, a founder of the outlawed Solidarity free trade union.

Washington imposed economic sanctions on Poland to protest the 1981 declaration of martial law but lifted some of them in 1984, a year after martial law ended.

U.S. officials have said the Reagan administration is considering lifting all sanctions because of last month’s decision by Poland’s communist government to release all political prisoners.

Western diplomats say Poland would like the sanctions ended to gain new assistance to help pay off a $31 billion debt to the West.

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