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Tuesday, 7 December 2004

The official visit of the President of the Republic of Poland and his Spouse to the Czech Republic

On 7 December 2004, President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski and his Spouse arrived in Prague on an official two-day visit to the Czech Republic.

After the official welcoming ceremony, the Polish and the Czech Presidents held a brief preliminary meeting at the end of which the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski was presented with the highest Czech decoration, the Order of the White Lion with Chain.

Following the ceremony, the two delegations met for plenary talks co-chaired by the Presidents. At the conclusion of the meeting, the following documents were signed in the presence of the Presidents:

- “Protocol of Turning over Manuscripts and Incunable from the Wrocław Jewish Theological Seminary Collection” signed by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Poland Waldemar Dąbrowski and Deputy Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic Petra Stolikowa;

- „Progamme of Cooperation between the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Poland and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic for 2004 -2006” signed by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Poland Waldemar Dąbrowski and the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic Petra Stolikowa;

- “Agreement on Mutual Protection of Confidential Information between the Government of the Republic of Poland and the Government of the Czech Republic” signed by the Minister of Home Affairs and Administration Ryszard Kalisz and the Head of the National Security Authority Jan Mareš.

After the signing ceremony, the Presidents held a press conference. Below are some remarks the Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski shared with the journalists present:

I wish to thank for the invitation, for being accorded the opportunity to visit the Czech Republic, for the order which, as I had said earlier, I was very moved to receive. I accept the order with gratitude but also as a pledge to continue in my efforts to forge the best possible strategic relations between Poland and the Czech Republic. It is our shared view with President Klaus that Polish-Czech relations are of strategic importance not only to our countries but also to the whole region and, I believe, to Europe at large as well – if only because we are members of the same European structures: the EU and NATO. And thus we are very pleased that we are engaged in a good political dialogue and that it is maintained not only between the presidents, the governments and parliaments, but at the local level as well. We are pleased that we are making progress in developing our trade relations. This year our mutual trade exchange will amount to about 5 billion USD and it is balanced; for Poland and the Czech Republic the other country ranks sixth or seventh in the order of trade partners. I would not want to say just now which way round it is but the positions are roughly of that order, in trade volume terms, in other words they are high. We are happy to note that our cooperation is developing well in the field of culture, science, border protection and that of combating terrorism, that is to say in all the domains where in our times countries have to be active to safeguard security as responsible members of international community. We do hope to further develop closer social ties between our societies, also by way of expanding tourist trade and mutual investments. We have a long way to go but the prospects look very good indeed. We will still have ample opportunity to talk these issues with President Klaus over long hours and I believe our exchanges serve well to advance Polish-Czech relations.

Next, the Polish President paid a visit to the Senate of the Czech Republic where he delivered lecture: Prospects for Regional Cooperation in United Europe.

In the afternoon, the Polish President met with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Stanislav Gross.

In the evening, President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and his Spouse attended an official diner given in their honor by the President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus and his Spouse.

On 8 December 2004, on the second day of his official visit to the Czech Republic, President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski met with the Speaker of the Czech Chamber of Deputies Lubomir Zaorálk.

After the meeting, the Polish President paid a visit to the National Library where he watched a slide-show presentation on manuscripts and incunable and attended a ceremony held to mark the turning over of the Wrocław Jewish Theological Seminary Collection.

The ceremony of turning over the manuscripts and incunable was also attended by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Poland, Waldemar Dąrowski, and the Chairman of the Association of Jewish Religious Communities, Piotr Kadlačik

In the afternoon, Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski laid a wreath at the Legionnaires’ Monument and accompanied by his Spouse attended a luncheon hosted the President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus and his Spouse.

Later in the afternoon, the Polish President visited the Polish Institute in Prague where the following persons were decorated with medals in acknowledgment of their outstanding contributions towards developing Polish-Czech relations.

Commander Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland - Petr Pithart;

Officer Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland - – Alexandr Vondra, Petruška Šustrová;

Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland – Petr Mareš.



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