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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal Stuart E. Eizenstat, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and
Special Representative of the President and
Secretary of State for Holocaust Issues

Statement released by the Department of the Treasury, June 16, 2000
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I am delighted to learn that the World Jewish Restitution Organization and the Polish Jewish communities have concluded agreements for the establishment of a foundation to assist in the restitution of communal property in Poland. To reach agreement, both parties had to make some difficult compromises. I congratulate them for making these hard decisions in order to speed the restitution of property rightfully belonging to the Polish Jewish community.

I also want to thank my colleague, Ambassador Henry Clarke, for his role as the mediator of these negotiations. Following my meeting with the parties in Warsaw, Ambassador Clark worked hard for the past year to bring the parties together, to find solutions to outstanding issues, and to bring this process to a successful conclusion. He deserves our congratulations.

With the agreement in place, I urge both parties now to complete the steps necessary to get the foundation operating so that it can assist in the preparation of claims. Less than 2 years remain to submit claims under the existing law. To complete the process prior to the deadline will require a concerted effort by both parties. We stand ready to continue to be of assistance to help launch this historic initiative to return communal property confiscated by the Nazis and then nationalized by the communists. We commend the Polish Government for their willingness to facilitate the return of this communal property.

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