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Monday, 14 April 2008

We must act together

On 14 April 2008, President of the Republic of Poland Mr Lech Kaczyński met with President of Ukraine Mr Viktor Yushchenko, who came on an official visit to Poland .

After the welcoming ceremony, private talks were held , followed by the signing, in the presence of the Presidents, of the contract on a feasibility study concerning the Eurasian oil transport corridor project between the International Pipeline Company “Sarmatia” Sp. z o.o. and Granherne Limited. The Presidents signed a Joint Declaration on strengthening and deepening co-operation between Ukraine and Poland preceding preparations of the two states for the European Football Championship finals - EURO 2012.

Both Presidents delivered statements for the press. President Lech Kaczyński made the following points:

“Dear Mr President, Our Dear Ukrainian Friends,
Today we have entered another stage of our joint hard work aimed at constructing something referred to earlier in Bucharest by President Yushchenko as “a new energy space” - a term which obviously attracted attention of the audience. When the first conference devoted to this issue was held in Krakow , it was described as a failure even by the Polish media. That was not true. We achieved success and strengthened it at a later date in Vilnius. I am most deeply convinced that we will see its further strengthening in Kiev, in May. Today we are moving to the feasibility study. I believe the progress will be rapid in this sphere. This proves that enterprising plans in economy and politics lay foundations for achieving not minor but major successes. Let us now touch on another issue, on the matter concerning our next joint success – the 2012 European Football Championships. What we need in this respect is closer co-operation between the presidents, and also deeper co-operation between the governments of our two countries. It is necessary to work together in the area of coordinated actions aimed at improving the road and rail networks. Ensuring progress in this sphere will not only enable smooth organization of the championships but will also improve the infrastructure integrating our countries. Earlier today President Yushchenko and myself discussed this issue. I believe that we will see progress in this field. In the near future a meeting in Lviv will take place which, I hope, will be attended by the Mayors of the Polish cities hosting the EURO. And I am most optimistic about the developments here . Let me appeal now to Minister Drzewiecki and his cabinet colleague Minister Grabarczyk to attend the Lviv gathering. It is indispensible for our common interests. I assume nobody needs an explanation of how immensely important it is for both our countries to make a success of EURO 2012".

Subsequently, the Presidents left for the National Museum where they took part in the opening ceremony of the exhibition "From Ukraine to the World". At the opening ceremony President of RP gave the following speech:

“I wish to express my profound satisfaction with the fact that it is the Polish National Museum which is hosting the exhibition “From Ukraine to the World”. That is an important event not merely in the history of our cultural relations, but also in the context of an ever closer history, ever closer ties between Ukraine and Poland. Recent years have indeed seen substantial intensification of those ties. We have been co-operating in the areas of politics and energy. The success we achieved in the battle for EURO, which was brought up by Minister just a moment ago, has deepened our co-operation in the field of sport. I firmly believe that this constitutes just a prelude to a further integrated co-operation within NATO and in the future perspective also in the European Union. However, cultural co-operation between such nations as the Ukrainian and the Polish ones is of special significance due to their cultural closeness, due to their immensely vast heritage, due to the distinctly ancient among other Slavic cultures, culture of Ukraine, due to the necessity of getting to know one another. One can say that history gave us an opportunity to get to know each other. That indeed is correct. Nevertheless, such opportunities have not been fully exploited. Now we must make up for the lost time. I was very pleased to hear President Yushchenko`s offer of opening a Polish exhibition in Ukraine, in Kiev. That is a valuable initiative as well. I am an ardent advocate of the idea that Central and Eastern European countries should more commit themselves to get to know their respective cultures better than it has been the case so far.

To date the main route of such process, except perhaps for the Czech Republic and Poland or Hungary and Poland, was running from the East to the West .
In case of the Eastern dimension, it was mainly the Russian culture which attracted attention of the West.
In my opinion this should be changed; the directions of getting familiar with one another ought to be diverse . It is within the framework of such process that one may discover, both in the past and in contemporary, achievements which form part of a number of different areas of culture, which are characterized by extreme significance and profoundness, which are hugely important and exceptionally interesting. Today I am opening an exhibition devoted to the subject of history. I am most deeply convinced that this will be followed by undertakings, and vernissages illustrating Ukrainian contemporary life and culture in Poland as well as those depicting Polish life and culture in Ukraine. Thank you all once again!”

On completing their tour of the exhibition, the Presidents took part in an official meeting with the representatives of the Ukrainian Community in Poland. During the meeting President Lech Kaczyński made the following points:

“Let me welcome the representatives of this minority community, and especially the representatives of the Greek-Catholic Church and of the Orthodox Church in Poland. “Ukraine has not yet perished”, “Poland has not yet perished”. Our anthems, though played by different tunes, begin with the same words. They both bear testimony to our forefathers` belief that the lack of freedom is a contemporary condition. We were convinced that we had to be free. And both Ukraine and Poland have become free. We have completed this very task, however many others are still awaiting us. It is truth universally acknowledged that we are bound by ages of history which were not always easy ones. It is common knowledge that many Poles have Ukrainian roots, and I myself received documents from President Yushchenko today. The opposite is also often the case. It would happen that two brothers, born of one mother and one father, considered themselves a Ukrainian and a Pole respectively. This proves the strength of bonds between our nations. It proves the fact that a huge infrastructure is already in place with the potential of transforming these relations into friendship, which, to a certain extent has already taken place. Earlier today President Yushchenko said that the people of Ukraine regard Poles as their close friends. We must strengthen these ties year by year, though. Past must be remembered but it also needs to be overcome. Poland has already seen officials of Ukrainian nationality occupying high positions in our country. I suppose that the situation looks similar in Ukraine. Why am I raising this issue? The role of the Ukrainian minority in Poland is vital. I know where most of you live, I am familiar with your fates in the aftermath of WWII. I am informed about tragic circumstances that you experienced. However, it lies in the interest of both our nations to secure ourselves an important , a very important position in Europe. Hence, we must act together. The path in front of us is a long one. It is long, but I firmly believe that just like in the past, we will achieve great successes also in the future. I would like once again to convey my greetings to everyone and wish you all the best. Just a moment ago we heard girls and boys performing the beautiful Polish and Ukrainian anthems, in Ukrainian and in Polish. Today there is not a hint of contradiction in it. And by uttering these words, I trust to be fulfilling the last will and testament of the wisest Poles and the wisest Ukrainians.”
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