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Thursday, 1 May 2008

President of RP attends the 15th Meeting of Presidents of Central European Countries

On 1 May 2008, President of the Republic of Poland Mr Lech Kaczyński and Mrs Kaczyńska went on a visit to Macedonia to attend the 15th Meeting of Presidents of Central European States in Ohryda.

On the first day of the visit, the President of RP met with the Presidents of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey. Subsequently, he attended an informal dinner hosted by the President of Macedonia in honour of the Heads of States.

On 2 May 2008, the President attended the plenary session: “”Together into the future. Challenges related to the EU enlargement.”

Subsequently, the President of the RP and the First Lady went to Kosovo to visit Polish KFOR troops stationing there.

During the meeting with the Polish soldiers, the President of RP noted the following:

“First and foremost, I wish to thank you for the good service. Certainly, it might have been a bit of courtesy and politeness on the part of the KFOR Commander but he did speak about excellent soldiers, motivated and well-trained. And this is this kind of opinion that I would like that the Polish soldiers enjoy wherever they are, and they are deployed in various quarters of the world. Once again I wish to thank you. Ladies and Gentlemen from the police force, for this opinion.

This is a trying service, far away from you country, in a different climate and among different customs. A question arises: why does Poland undertake such a service in so many quarters of the world? First and foremost, we are doing so in the name of international solidarity. We operate in different formulas: under UN auspices, under NATO auspices, within a coalition in Iraq which is outside NATO formula; we also had such missions under EU auspices in Congo and are going to have one very soon in Darfur. In a nutshell: there are various organisational forms but there is always one goal: stability, peace and fight with those phenomena worldwide which incur the risk of instability and take a heavy toll on lives. What I have in mind is international terrorism. Sometimes, the object is also to fight various other pathologies which have no traits of a terrorist activity, for example drug trafficking, and organised crime, when it grows to such a proportion so as to destabilise the life of a whole country. Also Kosovo, one of the regions that you are in charge of, is not free of such phenomena.

I do realize that this is a major effort, that the living conditions here are soldierly austere so there is a major sacrifice on your part, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is necessary in order to make this world a slightly better place to live, it will never be ideal but it can be made slightly better. In the second place, I would like to underscore here very eminently the needs of our home country. The so called expedition capacity of a country, i.e. its capability to deploy military units to various military operations determines very significantly the position of our country, though this is not the only determinant. Also in this regard, Poland is doing quite well, to say the least. That being said, given the numbers of soldiers that we have, I would like to see us do even better. But thanks to such actions we have already earned a lot of prestige. And you merit thanks for that.

As regards your battalion, there is one more aspect to it, namely that this is an international battalion, that you serve here along with the Ukrainian and Lithuanian soldiers. In other words: the nations serve here which used to be close to one another, at one point in time they even made up one state. Of course, we are talking history here, there is no gainsaying it, but close cooperation between Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland has vast importance. It was not I who called this battalion into being. It existed long before I became Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and it is not to my credit but for me this is a great joy. It is a great joy since this entails a need of very close cooperation between us. These days, we cooperate with the Lithuanians as our very close allies both within NATO and in the European Union. I hope that tomorrow, in the figurative, not literal meaning, the same will be true of our Ukrainian friends: that our cooperation within NATO will come first and soon after in the EU, and that the cooperation not only between soldiers but also among states will be enhanced. Good cooperation in this field is essentially important.

Coming to the close, let me tell you that there are also crucially important legal aspects, hence the vast role of the police force and the Polish policemen and women here in Kosovo, and probably also of other professions: civil servants, judges, law enforcement professions. This also needs to be taken into consideration since there is a vast need for stability in the sense of getting rid of various pathologies, and not terrorism, in this country. This is something that you, Ladies and Gentlemen, realise better than I do.

Ladies and Gentlemen, servicemen and women, I wish you a happy return home upon successful completion of your mission. My other wish for you is that your service might be also beneficial for your families. Let me at this point extend my very best wishes to all of them who are left in Poland: to you mothers, wives, daughters and sons, siblings, all who are near and dear to you. I trust that on the next occasion when I am here I will be able to stay a few hours and talk individually to the soldiers.

Thank you once again. I wish to thank you, Colonel, for making this short stay possible. I bow to you. See you in Poland”.

In the afternoon, the Presidential Couple returned home.
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