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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

President of RP sets off to visit Georgia

On 12 August 2008, President Lech Kaczyński went on a working visit to Georgia. He was accompanied by President of the Republic of Estonia Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of the Republic of Lithuania Mr Valdas Adamkus, President of Ukraine Mr Victor Yushchenko, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia Mr Ivars Godmanis and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Radosław Sikorski.

Before the take off from the Okecie Military Airport, President Lech Kaczynski had a briefing.

The President of RP made the following points:

"Together with President of Lithuania Mr Valdas Adamkus, President of Estonia Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Prime Minister of Latvia since President Valdis Zatlers is not yet back from Beijing we are setting off for Georgia. We will be also joined by President of Ukraine Mr Victor Yushchenko.

What is the meaning of that? This is all about solidarity of five states with a nation which fell victim of an aggression, the kind of aggression that is not unprecedented in the history. One can say that one more time, the Russian state has shown its true face which is a very saddening fact but the fact that must be taken note of. It is my profound conviction that the present cessation of operations will end in peace and that we will be working to this end. I am pleased that the Government changed their position and that Mr Minister Sikorski is with us. Not that I am not surprised but I am very happy all the same. In a moment. we are taking off. Obviously, the flight will take fairly long for we are stopping to be joined also by President Yushchenko. 

I do hope that we are going to be in Georgia today afternoon or tonight. We know that President Sarkozy is expected there for a short visit. The most recent news that there is about the ceasefire, of course this is good news but on the other hand, there is a question whether this ceasefire will not be interrupted and another question: what was behind the Russian decision? If it was the measures of the European Union and the United States and our own activity, this is very good, indeed." 

In the evening, at a rally in Tbilisi, President Lech Kaczyński addressed the people gathered on the square:

"Ladies and Gentlemen!We are here to express our full solidarity. We are Presidents of five states: Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We are here to undertake a struggle. It has been now the very first instance for a long time that our neighbours from the North, and for us also from the North and the East, have shown the face that we used to know all too well for centuries. Those neighbours believe that the nations surrounding them should be subordinated to them. And we say: No! The country I have in mind is Russia. That country believes that the old days of an empire that collapsed some twenty years ago are now about to return, that domination will be again the distinctive feature of the region. It will not be so. These times are gone once and for all and are not merely interrupted for twenty, thirty or fifty years! We were all of us exposed to this domination in more or less the same period o time. This was a misfortune for all Europe!  This was about breaking people’s characters, imposing an alien political system, imposing a foreign language. But what makes the situation now different from the situation many years ago? Today, we are here together. The world had to react even if reluctantly.  We are here to make the world react even stronger, the European Union and NATO in particular. When I was initiating this visit, some people believed that Presidents may have some fears. Nobody had any fears. They all came here since the Central Europe has courageous leaders. What I want to tell you and tell our friends from our shared European Union is that the Central Europe, Georgia and our whole region is going to have say, that we are a subject. And we also realize all too well that what has befallen Georgia today may befall Ukraine tomorrow, the Baltic States a day after, and then perhaps also my own country: Poland. We were deeply convinced that the membership of NATO and the EU would put an end to Russian appetites. It turned out that it did not. But if the values that are to be the foundation of Europe are to have any practical significance at all, we can defy. If those values are to matter at all, we must be here; whole Europe must be present here. Among us, there are four NATO members. There is also Ukraine, a large country. There is Mr President Sarkozy who at present presides over the European Union. But there should be 27 of us here. We trust that Europe will appreciate it and will be present, that Europe will understand   your own right to freedom and its own stakes as well That Europe will realize that without Georgia, Russia is going to restore its empire which serves nobody’s interests. This is why we are here now.”
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