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Thursday, 11 October 2001

Remarks by the President of the Republic of Poland and the President of the United States in the University Library

Afternoon June 15 2001 President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski with Spouse and President of the United States George W. Bush with Spouse were the guests of the Warsaw University Chancellor. In the University Library invited guests - members of the Polish Government with Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, Members of the Parliament with the Senate Speaker Alicja Grzeskowiak, representatives of the Polish clergy with Primate of Poland Jozef Glemp, leading politicians, diplomats and many other distinguished guests - listened to remarks by bothe Presidents, Aleksander Kwasniewski and George W. Bush. The President of the Republic of Poland said: Mr President, Dear American Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, Today the eyes of the world are focused on Warsaw and this meeting. International politics is being shaped right here. I have the honour to welcome the President of the United States of America, Mr George Walker Bush, who is visiting us on his first journey to Europe. It is an important signal, testifying to Poland`s position in Europe. We appreciate it very much. Welcome most cordially Mr President! You have arrived in a country which respects and admires America. We respect America as a great world power. We appreciate America for being the country of freedom and democracy - freedom and democracy having been Polish ideals for centuries. We are grateful to America for her friendship and support - especially in the most difficult times. We have a special bond with America - as she has become home to millions of Poles who emigrated there throughout many decades. Our meeting is a good opportunity to recall the great contribution made by your predecessors: Ronald Reagan, George Bush senior, and Bill Clinton. On behalf of the Republic of Poland I thank them for all they have done for Polish freedom and for Poland`s return to the western world. We are in the Library of Warsaw University. Not very far from here one can find a concrete example of American assistance: the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, whose office is located next door, on the University campus. This particular project originated during the visit to Warsaw of President Bush in the summer of 1989. In those days momentous change began in Poland, bringing about a transformation of this country and initiating the historic "Autumn of the Nations" in our part of Europe. Mr President, We hold in vivid memory the words of your father spoken in our parliament about Polish reforms creating a foundation for security and prosperity in the whole of Europe, now and in the next century - Europe, he said, which will be "whole, open and free". Those words - and our common hopes - have become reality. How different from what they were two hundred years ago are today`s Poland, Europe and the world! Today Poland is a member of NATO and is close to membership in the European Union. We are part of processes which consolidate Europe by enhancing freedom, security and civilizational development. We are among the constructors of a better world. What is more - and what is quite obvious to us - we share the responsibility with our partners and allies. Polish soldiers serving in peace missions are highly praised, joint battalions with the Lithuanian and Ukrainian forces are a practical manifestation of our strategic partnership in Central and Eastern Europe. Ladies and Gentlemen, We are at the beginning of a new century. Questions about the 21st century are no longer the domain of futurologists. Our generation will have to find the answers. America is a world power whose impact on the future of the globe is immense. We should keep that in mind while listening today to the American President. Welcoming you here, Mr President, we greet a man and a politician, who - standing at the helm of the great American nation - will strive to find the answers to questions which face humanity. Perhaps the most important of these is: how to prevent the growing gap between the world of democracy, freedom and development - and the world of poverty, oppression, intolerance and corruption. We cannot change reality overnight. Our moral duty, however, is to try to extend the realm of values of the western civilization, the realm where most people are happy and content rather than desolate or hopeless. It is crucial for the whole world, including the region of greatest importance to us: Central and Eastern Europe. The Cold War is over - and, hopefully, will never return. But the bond between Europe and America is still vital for the world order. It has fulfilled its mission over the last six decades. No responsible person can dispute its useful role for today, tomorrow and the future. The American presence in Europe is a crucial factor of balance and security. Europe, however, is also responsible for its future. That is why Poland, whose strategic goal is membership in the European Union, is a keen advocate of both maintaining the transatlantic bond and further enhancing European integration. Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Polish people are well aware that their fate will be secure only when there is security in the nations of our region. Having the future of Europe in mind, we declare readiness for dialogue and co-operation across the continent, including its eastern and south-eastern regions. Poland openly voices her concerns about symptoms of selfishness among some rich and stable nations. Not only because our country is still developing - our historical experience tells us that this kind of self-centred stability can be very fragile indeed. Unless we export stability and extend the sphere of freedom and development, poverty and instability will one day knock on our door. That is why, with deepest conviction, we advocate the inclusion of new countries into the Euro-Atlantic community, so that no part of our continent is forever and by definition excluded from it. I am heartened by the fact that the American view is so close to ours. We applaud the President`s statement about the need to enlarge NATO. May the door to the Alliance be open. For our neighbours: Slovakia and Lithuania. For Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia - countries which have built efficient democracies and market systems. For Romania and Bulgaria, which are determined to catch up with us and which are making notable progress. Also for other countries, provided they meet the accession criteria. We expect that most of today`s candidates will be invited to the Alliance next year. Let me emphasize: the process will not constitute a threat to anyone. On the contrary: it will mean more security, more trust and more predictability for Europe. We also believe that the European Union will soon enlarge. I am convinced that today, in the post-Cold War era, the only way to success is through positive politics. Politics which is not based on the traditional tools of diplomacy and military strength, but responds to people`s expectations and dreams, understands the value of economy and public opinion. If the Euro-Atlantic and European structures display openness, capacity for development and the ability to embrace hope and positive emotions - we can rest assured that the 21st century will be better. I am sure that we can, should and will achieve just that! Mr President, the floor is yours! The President of the United States George W. Bush said: Thank you very much. Mr. President, thank you very much for your gracious hospitality that you and your wife have shown Laura and me. Mr. Prime Minister, members of the government, distinguished members of the clergy, distinguished citizens, and this important friend of America, students, Mr. Rector, than you very much for your warm greeting. It`s a great honor for me to visit this great city -- a city that breathes with confidence, creativity and success of modern Poland. Like all nations, Poland still faces challenges. But I am confident you`ll meet them with the same optimistic spirit a visitor feels on Warsaw`s streets and sees in the city`s fast-changing skyline. We find evidence of this energy and enterprise surrounding us right now in this magnificent building. And you can hear it in the air. Today`s own -- Poland`s orchestra called Golec`s -- (laughter and applause) -- is telling the world, "on that wheat field, I`m gonna build my San Francisco; over that molehill, I`m gonna build my bank." Americans recognize that kind of optimism and ambition -- because we share it. We are linked to Poland by culture and heritage, kinship and common values. Polish glass makers built and operated the New World`s first factory in Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. Seeking the right to vote, those same Poles also staged the New World`s first labor strike. They succeeded. It seems the Poles have been keeping the world honest for a long period of time. Some of the most courageous moments of the 20th century took place in this nation. Here, in 1943, the world saw the heroic effort and revolt of the Warsaw Ghetto; a year later, the 63 days of the Warsaw Uprising; and then the reduction of this city to rubble because it chose to resist evil. Here communism was humbled by the largest citizens` movement in history, and by the iron purpose and moral vision of a single man: Pope John Paul II. Here Polish workers, led by an electrician from Gdansk, made the sparks that would electrify half a continent. Poland revealed to the world that its Soviet rulers, however brutal and powerful, were ultimately defenseless against determined men and women armed only with their conscience and their faith. Here you have proven that communism need not be followed by chaos, that great oppression can end in true reconciliation, and that the promise of freedom is stronger than the habit of fear. In all these events, we have seen the character of the Polish people, and the hand of God in your history. Modern Poland is just beginning to contribute to the wealth of Europe -- yet, for decades, you have contributed to Europe`s soul and spiritual strength. And all who believe in the power of conscience and culture are in your debt. Today, I have come to the center of Europe to speak of the future of Europe. Some still call this "the East" -- but Warsaw is closer to Ireland than it is to the Urals. And it is time to put talk of East and West behind us. Yalta did not ratify a natural divide, it divided a living civilization. The partition of Europe was not a fact of geography, it was an act of violence. And wise leaders for decades have found the hope of European peace in the hope of greater unity. In the same speech that described an "iron curtain," Winston Churchill called for "a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast." Consider how far we have come since that speech. Through trenches and shell-fire, through death camps and bombed-out cities, through gulags and food lines men and women have dreamed of what my father called a Europe "whole and free." This free Europe is no longer a dream. It is the Europe that is rising around us. It is the work that you and I are called on to complete. We can build an open Europe -- a Europe without Hitler and Stalin, without Brezhnev and Honecker and Ceaucescu and, yes, without Milosevic. Our goal is to erase the false lines -- our goal is to erase the false lines that have divided Europe for too long. The future of every European nation must be determined by the progress of internal reform, not the interests of outside powers. Every European nation that struggles toward democracy and free markets and a strong civic culture must be welcomed into Europe`s home. All of Europe`s new democracies, from the Baltic to the Black Sea and all that lie between, should have the same chance for security and freedom -- and the same chance to join the institutions of Europe -- as Europe`s old democracies have. I believe in NATO membership for all of Europe`s democracies that seek it and are ready to share the responsibilities that NATO brings. The question of "when" may still be up for debate within NATO; the question of "whether" should not be. As we plan to enlarge NATO, no nation should be used as a pawn in the agendas of others. We will not trade away the fate of free European peoples. No more Munichs. No more Yaltas. Let us tell all those who have struggled to build democracy and free markets what we have told the Poles: from now on, what you build, you keep. No one can take away your freedom or your country. Next year, NATO`s leaders will meet in Prague. The United States will be prepared to make concrete, historic decisions with its allies to advance NATO enlargement. Poland and America share a vision. As we plan the Prague Summit, we should not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can do to advance the cause of freedom. The expansion of NATO has fulfilled NATO`s promise. And that promise now leads eastward and southward, northward and onward. I want to thank Poland for acting as a bridge to the new democracies of Europe, and a champion of the interests and security of your neighbors, such as the Baltic states, Ukraine, Slovakia. You are making real the words: "For your freedom and ours." All nations should understand that there is no conflict between membership in NATO and membership in the European Union. My nation welcomes the consolidation of European unity, and the stability it brings. We welcome a greater role for the EU in European security, properly integrated with NATO. We welcome the incentive for reform that the hope of EU membership creates. We welcome a Europe that is truly united, truly democratic, and truly diverse -- a collection of peoples and nations bound together in purpose and respect, and faithful to their own roots. The most basic commitments of NATO and the European Union are similar: democracy, free markets, and common security. And all in Europe and America understand the central lesson of the century past. When Europe and America are divided, history tends to tragedy. When Europe and America are partners, no trouble or tyranny can stand against us. Our vision of Europe must also include the Balkans. Unlike the people of Poland, many people and leaders in Southeast Europe made the wrong choices in the last decade. There, communism fell, but dictators exploited a murderous nationalism to cling to power and to conquer new land. Twice NATO had to intervene militarily to stop the killing and defend the values that define a new Europe. Today, instability remains and there are still those who seek to undermine the fragile peace that holds. We condemn those, like the sponsors of violence in Macedonia, who seek to subvert democracy. But we`ve made progress. We see democratic change in Zagreb and Belgrade; moderate governments in Bosnia; multi-ethnic police in Kosovo; the end to violence in southern Serbia. For the first time in history, all governments in the region are democratic, committed to cooperating with one another, and predisposed to join Europe. Across the region, nations are yearning to be a part of Europe. The burdens -- and benefits -- of satisfying that yearning will naturally fall most heavily on Europe, itself. That is why I welcome Europe`s commitment to play a leading role in the stabilization of Southeastern Europe. Countries other than the United States already provide over 80 percent of the NATO-led forces in the region. But I know that America`s role is important, and we will meet our obligations. We went into the Balkans together, and we will come out together. And our goal must be to hasten the arrival of that day. The Europe we are building must include Ukraine, a nation struggling with the trauma of transition. Some in Kiev speak of their country`s European destiny. If this is their aspiration, we should reward it. We must extend our hand to Ukraine, as Poland has already done with such determination. The Europe we are building must also be open to Russia. We have a stake in Russia`s success -- and we look for the day when Russia is fully reformed, fully democratic and closely bound to the rest of Europe. Europe`s great institutions -- NATO and the European Union -- can and should build partnerships with Russia and with all the countrie
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