17 września 2008
On 17 September 2008, Chief of the Chancellery of the President of RP Mr Piotr Kownacki held on the occasion of Ramadan a ceremonial Iftar dinner hosted in honour of Ambassadors of Muslim states carrying out their diplomatic mission in Poland.

At the official dinner, Minister Piotr Kownacki read out a Message from the President of the Republic of Poland Mr Lech Kaczyński:

"Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions,

Let me extend my warmest welcome to you, Your Excellencies, at the ceremonial Ramadan dinner. I am very happy to be hosting on the occasion of our joint Iftar such a distinguished and numerous group of Ambassadors accredited in Poland and heads of diplomatic missions from Muslim countries.

Our today’s meeting confirms the will of the Polish state to maintain and enhance good and mutually beneficial relations with Muslim states. It is also a token of our respect for the followers of Islam which stems from a long-standing tradition of tolerance and coexistence in the Republic of Poland of citizens who had various nationalities, religions, among whom there were also Muslims. For many centuries, Poland used to be a country on whose vast territory people spoke different languages, practised different religions and spread different traditions and cultures almost in every city, town and village. Very probably, most of you, Excellencies, had an opportunity to meet with representatives of the Polish Muslims: the descendants of the Tartars whose community has written a beautiful patriotic chapter in the annals of history of our home country of the last 600 years. In the free and independent Republic of Poland, the followers of Islam can freely maintain their customs and rites, can form associations and work together for the common weal.

Our relations with the world of Islam have always featured mutual interest and respect. We, the Poles, have a particularly vivid recollection of the friendly attitude shown by the Osman’s Turkey towards the end of the 18th century as a country which never recognized the partitions of Poland. Neither shall we ever forget the hospitality and support accorded by Muslim communities in the Middle East and beyond to thousands of Polish soldiers and civilians in the World War 2, when our country found itself under occupation and homeless wanderers where evacuated from the Soviet Union. The ashes of many of them found their resting place on cemeteries scattered all around the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In almost two decades that divide us from the fall of communism in the Central and Eastern Europe, our country has accomplished the fundamental goals that were in store for it: transformation of the political system, and the renewal and enhancement of the country’s historical, cultural and political bonds with the West. It also marked its position in the Euro-Atlantic zone. Nowadays, Poland is a scene of an intense economic, social and cultural growth and wishes to be more present in other regions of the world, including the Middle East, Asia and Africa. We wish to work more actively to further our bilateral political, economic and cultural contacts, we wish to act together in the face of global threats and contribute to the solving of regional security problems. A good example of that ambition was this year’s visit to Warsaw by Mr Hosni Mubarak which sent a new impulse for bilateral relations, but also the contacts made with the countries along the former “Silk Road” which centred on the issue that is of a priority importance to Poland: the diversification of energy sources.

Our relations with the world of Islam also translate into our active engagement in problem solving and resolution of conflicts which pester this geographical region which is close to our hearts, We shoulder this task in the sense of shared responsibility for international security. We also do so in a conviction that our involvement in Muslim states meets with a friendly and supportive reception. Participating in missions under the aegis of the UN, the European Union and NATO, Polish troops and policemen are now present in South Lebanon and in the Golan Heights, in Afghanistan and in Chad, in Bosnia and in Kosovo. Our mission to stabilize Iraq which now coming to its end has cost a lot of effort and bloodshed. We wish to thank you for the understanding show to this challenging many year’s mission. We also hope that Poland’s contribution to the war on terror which is fought on Afghan soil will receive an equally positive assessment. Its purpose is to create for this Muslim state and its people an opportunity for stability and peaceful life.

We are doing our utmost to transform more and more of our involvement in all quarters of the Muslim world into humanitarian and developmental assistance. In this regard, we are driven by the will to help those states and regions in overcoming their problems, something that would not be achievable without support from the international community. We are ready to share our experiences derived in transformation and modernisation processes with Muslim states which are facing similar challenges. We invariably advocate a peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict which is so important for the Muslims and we support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. We likewise support the efforts to peacefully resolve the problem of the Iranian nuclear programme which is of key importance from the regional security perspective.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The period of Ramadan is a good time to reflect on the condition of the contemporary Muslim world and the relationship between civilisations. In this gathering, it is needless to say what a vast role play mutual tolerance and dialogue between the cultures and regions, and especially between Christianity and Islam, and also Judaism, in the contemporary globalised world. We, the Poles, are fervent advocates of such a dialogue bearing in mind the guidelines left by our great compatriot Pope John Paul II. His words contained in the Message for the World Day of Peace of January 1, 2001, remain valid providing the definition of a dialogue as a mutual acceptance and genuine collaboration demanded by the human familys basic vocation to unity.

On the occasion of Ramadan and the approaching al-Fitr may I extend to all of you, Ladies and Gentlemen, my wishes for your personal well-being and success in the performance of your diplomatic mission in Poland. I am confident that our joint efforts will contribute to enhanced cooperation between the Republic of Poland and Muslim countries and will help to bring our nations closer to each other”.
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