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Poland could ban Huawei products after employee arrest

Poland could consider banning the use of Huawei products by public institutions, a senior government official said on Sunday, following the arrest of a Chinese Huawei official in the east European country last week.


The Polish government could also look to tighten legislation to allow the authorities to limit the availability of products produced by any company deemed to pose a threat to security.


Officials and sources told Reuters on Friday that Poland arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a former Polish security official for allegations of espionag, a move that could raise Western security concerns about telecoms equipment manufacturer.


A government official who is responsible for cyber security told Reuters that the "abrupt" policy changes towards Huawei were unreasonable after its arrest.


But he said it was possible to review the use of the company's products by national entities.


"We will analyse... whether our decision can include the end of the use of Huawei products..." Karol Okonski told Reuters.


"We have no legal means to force private companies or citizens to stop using any IT company's products. It cannot be ruled out that we will consider legislative changes that would allow such an action, "he added.


The Polish official arrested by the country's Internal Security Agency (ISA) had been responsible for issuing security certificates for equipment used by public administration, a spokesman for Poland's security services said on Friday.


"(He) used to work for a number of public agencies, held important management positions, and was also involved with ... institutions that protect internal security," he told the public broadcaster TVP.


In order to keep a distance itself from the incident, Huawei said on Saturday it had sacked its employee, adding his "alleged behaviors have no relation to the company."


Huawei, the world's largest producer of telecommunications equipment, said in its relationship with the Chinese government and U.S. -led allegations that its equipments could be used by Beijing for espionage and therefore subject to strict censorship in the West.


Without public evidence, the company has repeatedly denied the allegations, but some Western countries have limited Huawei's access to their market.


Poland's internal affairs minister, Joachim Brudzinski, called for the European Union and NATO to work on a joint position over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets.


"We are studying the readiness of the (EU and NATO) countries to work on a joint position" Okonski told Reuters, referring to a new generation of 5G telecommunications infrastructure.