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Tuesday, 16 September 2003

Official visit of President of the Republic of Poland with Spouse to Norway

September 16, 2003 the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski with Spouse began two-day official visit to Norway upon the invitation of Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja. After the official welcoming ceremony by Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja in front of the Royal Palace in Oslo President Aleksander Kwaśniewski met the President of Norwegian Parliament “Storting”, Mr. Jorgen Kosmo and following that, with the Norwegian Prime Minister, Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik. After the wreath laying ceremony at the National Monument in Akershus Fortress Polish President arrived at the Nobel Institute, where he gave the address, “How to win the peace”. Ladies and Gentlemen! It is a great honour for me to speak about peace at the Nobel Institute. This is a venue closely associated with the Prize awarded to people who contributed to building a better, safer world. I pay tribute to the achievements of those, who demonstrated with their lives and deeds that for them, peace is not just a lofty word. Taking the floor in this hall I am thinking about many distinguished persons who received the Peace Prize. But also about those, who undoubtedly rendered immense services, even though they were not given that honour. I will recall here the names of great Poles, whose accomplishments have been gaining with the passage of time an ever greater recognition and appreciation in the world. I am referring to Jan Bloch, both a businessman and an outstanding thinker. His six-volume work “On Warof the Future”, published in the 90s of the nineteenth century in Warsaw, is regarded today by many war and peace affairs scholars as the foundation of prevention of armed conflicts. Bloch was named the “spiritual father” of the First Hague Peace Conference, while his closest associate – Bertha von Suttner – was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905. Another monumental figure born in Poland was an eminent lawyer, Raphael Lemkin. It is to him that we owe the definition of the concept of genocide coined already during the Second World War and the recognition of genocide as an international crime. It was him who elaborated the International United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Also born in Poland was Joseph Rotblat, a remarkable physicist and radiobiologist, president of the Pugwash organization /Pugwash Conferences On Science And World Affairs/, awarded jointly with that organization with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Among the Prize Laureates there is also a famous leader of “Solidarność”, my predecessor at the post of President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Wałęsa. Ladies and Gentlemen! Contrary to common perception, it is difficult to translate the concept of peace into simple political precepts. On the other hand, we should not allow events to dictate our course of action. We mustn`t therefore shy away from an intellectual endeavour to tackle the notion of peace and to capture the significance it entails for us – here and now. Peace is not simply the absence of war. Peace founded on the balance of fear is but an intermission between one armed conflict and another one which follows as a result of tipping the balance. Peace, therefore, cannot be only a constellation of threat and deterrence; an unstable situation of holding those who wish to go to war “in check”. If we want the Kantian dream about “eternal peace” come true, we must strive for something more. We must build the world where the power of law will be the only power that counts. Such a world does not exist yet, although, beyond doubt, in many regions of the globe it may seem that it does. A big part of Europe, North America and several other islands of stability and prosperity may give the illusion that peace is only to be cultivated and maintained. Nevertheless, it is enough to take a look at the freshly extinguished Balkan fire, or recall the tragedy of September 11, to realize that even on those blissful isles peace has not been given once and for all. It has to be actively sought, it takes hard work to be established, often involving putting at risk people`s health and lives. Alfred Nobel once said: “Good wishes alone will not ensure peace”. Public life in this day and age, so much dependent on the power of the media coverage, may raise a temptation to belittle threats to peace in the name of the “sacred peace and quiet”. Such “passive pacifism”, reflected in the motto: “No war!”, paradoxically often increases the likelihood of conflicts. Turning away from the threats by no means renders them less threatening. 64 years ago the Poles learned a painful lesson about the possible consequences of passive pacifism. Soon that lesson was to be learnt by the whole world, with the loss of millions of human beings in the war with a dictator who took advantage of every concession made in the name of “saving peace” at any cost. Peace must be won – that is the slogan of active pacifism. Its ultimate goal is to build the world ruled by law, not by violence. But it is not afraid to admit that the use of force may sometimes be inevitable to reach that state. This is not to say that peace can be gained simply in fighting. Building an international architecture of peace is a much more complex task. Promoting sustainable development is indispensable to contain the spread of poverty which is fertile ground for growing hatred. There is a need for economic and political assistance, support of democratization, scientific and cultural exchange. There is a need for effective diplomacy, for seeking compromise. Military might alone will not suffice to secure peace in the world, just as the sole reliance on the force of diplomacy and economic pressure is not sufficient to bring about change in the aggressive policy of many states. That is why our firm determination to prevent the outbreak of new conflicts should never be called into question. Finding a reasonable compromise between prudence in the resort to force in international politics and the necessity to have such means at the disposal in extraordinary circumstances is a matter of crucial significance today. On the other hand: what must be won is peace, not war. A war won by a democratic state is only the beginning of a long process of establishing peace. That was the case in Japan. That was the case in Germany. By defeating the Third Reich, the states of anti-Nazi coalition were crowned with an invaluable success. Not only did they win peace on the soil of our western neighbour, but also they managed to transform it into a country devoted to peace, committed to the process of European integration. In this way history proves that peace can indeed be won. Ladies and Gentlemen! The emergence of a new adversary shows how much today we need active pacifism. This adversary is not a state easy to identify, but rather a sort of frame of mind, grown out of frustration, making cynical use of poverty and grievances. International terrorism is not just an adversary of this or that country, this or that culture – but the enemy of peace as such. It strives to sow anxiety, it wants people to live in permanent fear. It is ready to reach that goal by any means. It does not discriminate between military and civilian targets, it has no respect for human life. It seeks to replace an open, friendly world with the dictatorship of fear: uniform, closed order based on hate of everything, which is different. It is not ready to negotiate or compromise, it does not calculate gains and losses. It is bent on total destruction. Of course, terrorism is not the only source of threats to peace in today`s world. Such a threat is posed by aggressive dictatorships, like the regime of Saddam Hussein. Danger is also associated with failing and failed states. Their territories are havens for criminal networks of transnational character, for flourishing arms and drug trafficking. They provide bases for terrorists, who take advantage of ineffective governance for their own ends. Terrorism itself is a multifarious phenomenon. All its forms, however, have a certain common denominator, which manifests itself in moments such as the recent attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad, destroying the infrastructure, which affects most painfully the Iraqi people themselves, or an assassination of the spiritual leader of the Shiites. Hence, it has been made increasingly clear that we are not dealing here with the famous “clash of civilizations”, but rather the clash of all world civilizations with brutal aggression and attempts to provoke permanent chaos. The countries committed to freedom and peace, have countered this lust for destruction with an anti-terrorist coalition. Today there are many voices calling into question the unity of that coalition, especially in the face of transatlantic divisions and differences of opinion on the conflict in Iraq revealed in Europe itself. However, let me stress this point with profound conviction: we must not renounce that unity if we really want to win peace for the world. No one will be in a position to deal on his own with the threats we are confronted with at the dawn of the 21st century. Let us then not allow the fundamentalist ideology, which has no room and no need for discussion, emerge victorious from the controversy between the states whose tradition is based on the culture of discussion. Too often we tend to forget that what constitutes the power of democracy – transparency of public life, respect for human rights and resolving differences through public discourse – when confronted with undemocratic world turns into its weakness. It is true that preserving unity among states which respect diversity is not easy: in the face of threats it becomes, however, indispensable. A recipe for the relations in the family of democratic states may be found in the understanding of a colossal difference between “the same” and “together”. We do not have to think and speak in the same manner. We should, nevertheless, decide and act together. But first and foremost: not necessarily saying the same things, we should talk to one another: maintain a dialogue. Let me, Ladies and Gentlemen, describe four dimensions of dialogue and collective action based on it. The dimensions that are most important from the Polish point of view. The order in which I will mention them reflects their reach, and not their significance. These dimensions are: the United Nations Organization, the North Atlantic Alliance, the European Union and the structures of regional cooperation. The UN is the only organization of global reach, embodying the ideal of international order founded upon the law. I wish to underline that in spite of numerous Cassandric prophecies of its erosion, no state has put into question the tasks and goals of that organization. Of course, the United Nations, just as many other international structures, require reform. They should develop to a much greater extent the capacity to take quick and decisive action. Let us remember that there is no alternative to the United Nations system: nobody wants to revert to the state of nature in relations between states. Yet, on the other hand, the existence of the law which can be freely mocked and disregarded is equally dangerous, sometimes even more dangerous than chaos. The problem of sanctions in international law is not a new issue. We need, however, to begin to resolve it successfully if we want to ascertain due respect for international law in today`s world. We must not overlook the enormous work of the United Nations, its every-day, arduous effort in building a durable architecture of peace through humanitarian assistance, peace missions or protection of cultural goods. These are the fields upon which, without the clash of weapons, without spectacular manoeuvres, the biggest battles are often won for the sake of peace. The United Nations should become, to a larger extent than so far, a coordinator of the world politics of sustainable development. Globalization is an irreversible process – we must do everything we can to make its fruit serve the largest possible number of people, and to prevent emerging new divides and social contrasts, and to secure for all inhabitants of our globe access to basic welfare, education, and work. Needless to say, such actions are of absolutely fundamental importance for conflict prevention and countering international crime and terrorism. What needs emphasizing in this context is that American and European engagement in stabilization in the world also has its limits. Financial burdens of peace operations as well as of economic assistance are so huge that even the wealthiest states may reach the threshold of exhaustion of their resources. For this reason, it is in the properly understood interest of the western world to draw into cooperation those actors of international politics whose engagement is well below their capacity. This objective can be fulfilled only through strengthening the position of the United Nations. The second dimension of joint action for peace must remain the North Atlantic Alliance. It is probably the first military pact in history to which states accede not in the hope for conquest or motivated by the fear of the stronger. They join it because they want to be among democratic states, respecting human rights and international norms. The States which are ready to defend those values. This alliance remains open to all those who want to build the world of peace, rather than the world of conflicts. For this reason, Poland, a NATO member for four years, welcomed with joy the decisions taken in Prague on the enlargement of the pact by seven new countries. For years we have been consistently supporting the open door policy. We are convinced that as in the case of previous enlargement, this one will also contribute to consolidating stability on our continent. Of course, we cannot avoid reform of the Alliance, which must come to grips with new threats to international order. The fact that these reforms are being implemented demonstrates that the Alliance is not going to neglect world security by falling into apathy. It wants to win the peace by reacting to new challenges. Speaking about the North Atlantic Alliance, I cannot fail to refer to the excellent Polish-Norwegian cooperation developed within its framework. Our countries, bound by the ties of friendship formed in the course of one thousand years of history, can jointly build today the future of the continent. We are connected not only by the common defense interests, but first of all by our common concern to establish a lasting, just peace in the world. In the context of current debate on transatlantic relations I wish to stress one fact, which from the Polish perspective may be more clearly visible than from the point of view of Western Europe. For nearly half a century Poles were compelled to observe passively from behind the Iron Curtain what was probably the biggest political miracle that had occurred on our continent in the course of centuries. The American presence in Europe made possible the transformation of the continent torn by incessant, destructive wars into an area of integration unprecedented in history. There came into being a community founded upon mutual confidence and respect, cooperating ever closer for the benefit of its citizens as well as world peace. What had become an obvious reality for Western Europeans, for Poles was a beautiful dream. Maybe that is the reason why we, new members of NATO and soon of the European Union, are today the ones who remind about the history of the American-European success. We have not got used to it yet – and we don`t want to at all. The transatlantic ties need strengthening just by reminding this unprecedented achievement resulting from cooperation. That is why it is indispensable to maintain the commonality of American and European
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