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Monday, 28 February 2005

The President of the Republic of Poland takes part in the inaugural Franco-Polish Summit held in Arras

On 28 February 2005, the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski and the President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac took part in the first Franco-Polish summit held in Arras.
After the official welcoming ceremony, the Presidents held private talks.
At the conclusion of the talks, the Presidents signed the visitors’ book and were presented with commemorative medals by the Mayor of Arras.
Subsequently, plenary talks were held, co-chaired by the President of the Republic of Poland and the President of the French Republic.
Addressing the audience, the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski said:

We have just taken part in a historical event – the first Franco-Polish Summit co-chaired by the Presidents of both the countries. We greatly appreciate this French initiative. I remember that when we first talked about elevating our relations onto that level, emulating that attained in Franco-German, Franco-British, Franco-Spanish or Franco-Italian relations, President Chirac said that that would be about France and Poland coming upon each again. I believe that we did witness that reunion today, the rediscovery of common language, understanding and great mutual good-feeling. I wish to thank the President for this initiative and his supportive attitude and I extend my thanks to the authorities and citizens of the city of Arras in gratitude for the very warm reception accorded to us today as well as to great many of my compatriots who for many generations found here their second homeland.
I do not want to revisit all the issues already covered by the President. I just want to add that from the Polish perspective it is very important that our views as regards the great majority of European issues are convergent, including that of Constitutional Treaty. In all probability the adoption of the Treaty will also be submitted in Poland to a vote in a nationwide referendum. It will be very important to us what position France adopts in the referendum. This will be very consequential to all societies in the European Union. I wish to congratulate you, Mr. President, that the first step - the Assemblée Nationale decision – was taken in such a spectacular fashion.  This is a major achievement and it bodes well for the success of the referendum.
We have also reaffirmed the importance of Trans-Atlantic relations and  I said, as the President of Poland, that we were very pleased by the successful outcome  of the meeting between President Chirac and President Bush, that of last NATO Summit and of European Union with the President of the United States. We need good Trans-Atlantic relations and Poland, in all places - also in Washington - and at all times, advocated the idea of making these the best possible. I said many a time before that good relations between Washington and Paris or Washington and Berlin are a guarantee of our safety as well. This gives us confidence that no issues will be discussed over our heads. Hence we welcome the return to the active Trans-Atlantic dialogue. Likewise, both out countries are committed to developing the best possible relations with the Russian Federation and Ukraine. We discussed at some depth the Eastern dimension of the EU policy because for obvious reasons that dimension is of particular interest to us. The bilateral relations between Poland and France are just as President Chirac said – good across the whole spectrum, be it investments, trade, scientific cooperation or culture. We are very pleased with the good reception of the 800 cultural events staged in 120 French cities and towns last year which offered the view of Polish culture and of the new Poland – one that jointly with France is a member of the European Union and NATO – to the broad audience of our French friends. 
The Summit does not crown a specific stage of our cooperation but highlights the high rank of priority we assign to our relations. I wish to say there will be further contacts that give us the confidence that there will be no bilateral or international issues for which will not have ample opportunity to meet and discuss. There will be inter-governmental consultations, meetings of particular ministers, the Weimar Triangle in May, and we shall also welcome you, Mr. President, the same month in Warsaw at the European Council Summit. It thus appears that this political dialogue will continue into the future and I am convinced that it shall serve to closely align the French and Polish positions on major issues and will help take off the agenda any outstanding ones which may yet remain unresolved or on which one or the other side may still have some lingering doubts.
Before I end, I wish to thank once again for this historical event, for the hospitality offered. We have affirmed that we are bound by ties of a special nature and I wish to invite you Mr. President and representatives of the Government of the French Republic to the next summit to be held next year in Poland. I believe something of crucial significance happened today and our intentions are set out in the Arras Declaration. I trust that you will bring these to the notice of public opinion in both our countries. I am confident that this event will have beneficial consequences in immediate and more distant future. And indeed, Mr. President, Dear Friend, we did find each other and in a good style too. Thank you for your attention.
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