Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and Poland's communist rulers agreed on Friday to start formal talks Feb. 6 on the country's future and legalizing the banned union.
A Solidarity spokesman said the date for "round-table" talks in Warsaw was worked out at secret discussions Walesa held with Interior Minister Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak on the outskirts of the capital."It was agreed that the first meeting of the "round-table' will take place Feb. 6 in Warsaw," spokesman Jacek Ambroziak, a legal adviser to the Roman Catholic church, told reporters outside the church's headquarters.
"I am happy and very tired," Walesa said after more than 11 hours of talks with Kiszczak at a government villa in the village of Magdalenka about 12 miles south of Warsaw.
They met to make the final preparations for the round-table talks the communist government hopes will forge a national coalition with the opposition to pull Poland out of economic crisis.
The government offered the talks to Walesa, Roman Catholic church officials and independent public figures in August during the worst labor unrest since Solidarity was banned under martial law in 1981.
But Walesa refused to attend unless authorities promised to consider restoring his banned union, which challenged communist rule during its 16-month legal existence.
Final obstacles to the talks appeared to be removed last week when the ruling Communist Party said the timing and terms of legalizing the union could be discussed. Solidarity accepted the proposals on Sunday.
The two sides issued a joint statement after Friday's talks saying they discussed trade union freedoms - including Solidarity - and other issues which will be raised at the round table talks.