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Monday, 14 November 2005

An official visit of the President of the Republic of Poland to the Slovak Republic

On 14 November 2005, the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, paid an official visit to the Slovak Republic.
After the ceremony of official welcome for the President of the Republic of Poland hosted by the President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gasparovic, private talks were held, followed by talks between both delegations chaired by the two Presidents and a joint press conference.
Addressing the journalists, the President of the Republic of Poland said, among other things:
I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for your appraisal of the ten years of my cooperation [with Slovakia] in the capacity of the President of the Republic of Poland, and I wish to say that I share this opinion: this decade has indeed been special, very successful in Polish-Slovak relations, and today, ten years on, we are talking in a situation very different from that in 1996, as I paid my first visit to Bratislava. We are in NATO together, which was not all that obvious; we are in the European Union together, which was very difficult. We are expanding regional cooperation, not only with the Visegrad Group, but also with our neighbours to the east, with Ukraine. The results of our bilateral cooperation in terms of trade, economy, culture, tourism, transfrontier cooperation, town twinning – all this looks good. Even so, I agree with President Gasparovic, who said during the plenary talks that things are never so good that they cannot get any better. I have been trying for these past ten years to support Slovakia in her aspirations in the belief that it is not only in the interest of Slovakia, but also in the interest of Poland, that it is in the interest of Europe for this country to be both a NATO member and a European Union member. I am happy that I have been able to achieve this objective. I wish to reiterate what I already told President Gasparovic – I believe that we have not only chosen the right objectives as Slovakia and as Poland, but also that we had a good timing, to use a sports term. If we had not done it within this past decade, I am afraid today it would be much more difficult. Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion I would like to say that we have a new government after the election, as you know, and that on 23 December my successor, Mr. Lech Kaczyński, will take office for a five-year term. I hope and trust that the new government and the new president will do their very best to ensure that relations between Poland and Slovakia keep expanding, to take advantage of these remarkable achievements that we have noted, to build a beautiful building of Polish-Slovak cooperation upon this solid foundation laid within the past decade. 
In the afternoon, the Polish President met with the Speaker of the National Council, Pavel Hrusovsky, and took part in a luncheon hosted by the Slovak Prime Minister, Mikulas Dzurinda.
Next, the President of the Republic of Poland laid a wreath at a monument to Ludovit Stur and delivered a lecture: ‘Poland and Slovakia in Europe – Regional and European Challenges’ at the Slovak Foreign Policy Association.
In the evening, a dinner was offered by the Slovak President, Ivan Gasparovic, in honour of the Polish President, Aleksander Kwaśniewski.
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