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Monday, 17 December 2001

Working visit of the President of the Republic of Poland to the Czech Republic

On December 17th, the President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Aleksander Kwaśniewski, paid a working visit to the Czech Republic. In the course of the visit, the President met in Lany Mr.Vaclav Havel, the President of the Czech Republic. After the meeting, during the press conference, the President made, among others, the following comments: I wish to thank for the invitation and the very interesting and wide-ranging talks we have conducted with President Havel. We positively assess both our bilateral cooperation as well as the collaboration among the four countries pursued within the framework of the Vysehrad Group. With President Havel we provide in a way a personal guarantee that bilateral Polish-Czech relations shall develop - notwithstanding election results and changing governments - properly because it is ultimately in the best interest of our countries and our nations. We also very favorably assess the outcome of the official visit of Prime Minister Milos Zeman to Poland, the first such visit in four years; in future, the visits should be more frequent and the next one should come sooner. We talked about the cooperation between Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Now is not the time for eschewing such cooperation, on the contrary, we should do our outmost to expand it since our objectives are convergent. We would like to see the Prague NATO Summit culminate in historical decisions - one such decision would be an invitation to enlarge the Alliance by Slovenia, Slovakia, the Baltic States. The gateway ought to be kept open also for other countries providing appropriate criteria are met. I offer the assistance of Poland in this endeavor for the success of the Prague Summit. I am personally willing to do everything within my scope of influence to make the meeting to be held a year from now most useful and satisfying to us all. The President added that he considers the Laeken Conference a success, an important step forward, and the time-table providing for concluding negotiations in 2002 and enlarging the Union from January 2004 by countries ready for membership a very realistic one. The setting up of the Convention was appropriate and the Union has to reflect on its present condition and define its frame for the future. The Convention concords with the suggestions or insights frequently articulated by President Havel. I would not unduly dwell on the issue of who should represent us in the Convention. These should certainly be the best, the most competent representatives, but both the Polish Government as well as Parliament have to work out a joint position that will be our contribution to the collective debate on the Union`s future - stressed President Kwaśniewski and added that the establishment of the Convention dispels the apprehensions of the candidate countries as to their role in the discussion on the future of the Union. Remarking on the situation in the aftermath of September 11th, the President of the Republic of Poland emphasized that there is a need to envisage new frameworks for NATO-Russia cooperation - the Prague Summit should serve the purpose. This is the way I construe President Havel`s words that it would be of advantage if Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, could be present at the Summit at this very place. Since 1997 we have affirmed the position that Europe and the world need transparent cooperation between two actors - the North Atlantic Alliance and the Russian Federation. Cooperation in specified fields - without the right of veto, and most certainly without the right of veto in matters of enlargement - underlined the President of Poland. In the afternoon, Mr. Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the President of the Republic of Poland, met at the Polish Embassy gathered in great number representatives of the Polish expatriate community. The President of the Republic of Poland broke wafer with those present wishing them peaceful Christmas and good fortune in the coming year. The Christmas Eve meeting was attended by the Czech Primate Cardinal Miroslav Vlk.
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