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Friday, 13 March 2009

Distinctions for developing Polish defences and the safety of Poland within NATO

On Friday, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Secretary General of NATO, received the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland from President Lech Kaczyński for his service concerning developing Polish defences and the safety of Poland within NATO.

The President emphasized that by awarding the highest distinction available to foreigners to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer he wishes to honour the person who has performed excellently as NATO Secretary General and to express his gratitude for all that Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has done for Poland.

The President repeated that NATO is not a perfect organization, as there are no such organizations, but added that without NATO the world would be worse than it is.

He also emphasized that there are conflicts of interests within the pact because not all the interests of its members are identical. “It is far from easy to reconcile these interests, to make decisions and to manage the great and successful historic experiment that the pact is on a day-to-day basis,” he emphasized.

Scheffer emphasized that the distinction that he was awarded by the Polish President is a great honour, especially, he claimed, since Poland has become a reliable ally during its 10 years of membership in NATO.

The NATO Secretary General thanked the Polish soldiers stationed in Afghanistan for their courage and effort. He announced that he will be visiting the Polish troops next week.

The President, speaking about the matters he discussed with Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said that their discussion mostly concerned the extension of NATO and the mission in Afghanistan. The President, when asked whether the issue of Radosław Sikorskis candidacy for the post of NATO Secretary General was discussed, claimed that it was not. "We have not discussed the matter. I will definitely address this issue during discussions with leaders of other countries," he added.

During the celebrations held on Friday, Lech Kaczyński awarded the Commander’s Cross Polonia Restituta to Andrzej Towpik – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Minister Resident of Poland for the United Nations in New York – for his extraordinary service with regard to national and public activities, as well as for his service in developing international cooperation, Polish defences and the safety of Poland within NATO. 

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