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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

We have made an important step on the way towards bringing our nations closer together

From 14 to 17 April 2008, President of the State of Israel Mr Shimon Peres was paying an official visit to Poland.

On 16 April 2008, an official welcoming ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace. The ceremony was followed by private talks and a plenary session.

Later on the Presidents participated in a press conference during which President Lech Kaczyński made the following statement:

“Let me once again welcome President of the State of Israel Mr Shimon Peres to our country. We are satisfied not only with the visit paid by Mr President in His capacity as the Head of the State of Israel but also with a visit paid by the politician who for tens of years has been playing a significant role not merely in the Middle East but in the global politics. Unfortunately, I have to start my statement with expressing grief and offering condolences to Mr President and to the entire Israeli Nation in connection with the death of three Israeli soldiers who lost their lives at the hands of Hamas. We understand that the death of soldiers, the death of one`s fellow citizens is always a difficult experience for the nation and for its authorities. I would like once again to extend to Mr President our condolences and express our sorrow due to that fact.

The visit by Mr President has two aspects to it. Earlier we jointly took part in the ceremony commemorating an outstanding act of heroism i.e. the Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in April and May 1943. An unequal battle which lasted for weeks - more than three weeks in total – proved how people who are determined to defend human dignity and honour are able to oppose a cruel, though cruelty is too weak a word in this context, totalitarian Nazi regime.

Today Mr President and I made an extremely interesting overview of the situation in the Middle East and in Europe, covering a number of different aspects connected with the current situation in the Middle East and with the steps that can be taken as regards the peace process, with a special focus on Palestine. As regards Europe, we discussed those important issues which pertain to the Lisbon Treaty, to the approaching date of the Treaty’s entry into force, which will most likely happen in early 2009. Moreover, we touched upon relations between the European Union and Russia, relations within the EU itself, which are very well known to Mr President due to his vast political experience. We held an extremely interesting and basically non-controversial exchange of opinions. Poland supports – and let me reiterate it once again – the obvious claims of Israel, of the Jewish Nation to an undisturbed, peaceful existence in the state which was rebuilt sixty years ago. And the sixtieth anniversary of that event will fall exactly in May. Poland wants peace in the Middle East because peace is what we generally strive at. Poland wants peace in the Middle East because of our historical bonds with the State of Israel, and last but not least, Poland wants peace in the Middle East because the world needs it in order to safeguard general stabilization. Peace is also tremendously important from the economic point of view. Within the realms of our possibility, acting both through the European Union and on our own, we will make all possible efforts to contribute to guaranteeing the peace.

We also tackled the issue of bilateral co-operation. There is an initiative of establishing a foundation, or as Mr President referred to it more specifically, a public—private Polish – Israeli scientific fund. There are possibilities to develop technological and military co-operation. Poland is becoming a more and more attractive investment location, hence there is also a space for Israeli investments in our country. We are already hosting quite a number of such investments today. My general assessment of the visit is very good. I am particularly pleased that we have made an important step on the way towards bringing our nations closer together”. 
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