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US defends Poland alliance after leaked tape scandal

US-Polish ties are very solid, the State Department insisted on Monday, refusing to be drawn into the row surrounding a secret recording of critical remarks attributed to Poland's top diplomat.

WASHINGTON: US-Polish ties are very solid, the State Department insisted on Monday, refusing to be drawn into the row surrounding a secret recording of critical remarks attributed to Poland's top diplomat.

"I can't comment on alleged tapes. I can't confirm their authenticity or background. I'm just not in a position to verify that," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

A Polish magazine reported on Sunday it has audio recordings of Poland's foreign minister dismissing Warsaw's ties with the US as "worthless", the latest leak in a bugging scandal that has rocked the Polish government.

Last week, the Wprost news magazine set off a political storm when it released audio suggesting the government had cut a deal with the central bank to boost the budget and garner political support.

In the latest recording, Wprost reported that Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski had said to former finance minister Jacek Rostowski: "You know the Polish-US alliance is worthless."

The State Department however insisted that "more broadly, the United States and Poland have an incredibly strong relationship.

"You saw recently the secretary (of State John Kerry) certainly has been there, has been meeting, including with the foreign minister," Harf said.

"And this is a relationship based on shared values. It remains strong. It's a key part of our alliances in that part of the world. And the crisis in Ukraine, I think, has made that even more the case, where we're confronting a shared threat together," she maintained.

In early June, President Barack Obama was in Warsaw for the 25th anniversary of the first democratic elections in Poland at the end of the Cold War.

Sikorski's name has come up as a possible successor to Catherine Ashton, whose term as European Union foreign policy chief ends this year.

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