with Polish
Prime Minister

21 Feb. 1997

Opening Remarks

by the Secretary General

Cimoszewicz & Solana
I am very pleased to welcome this morning Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz of Poland. Your visit to our Headquarters today, and your meeting with the Ambassadors of NATO, are a sign of the very close ties that exist between Poland and the Atlantic Alliance. It is also a sign of the strong desire of your country to advance your goal of integrating Poland fully into Euro-Atlantic structures.

Poland has already made great strides towards this goal. It remains firmly committed to political and economic reform, and it has consistently sought to deepen its ties with our Alliance. Its active role in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the Partnership for Peace testifies Poland's readiness to play its full part in the creation of a new Europe.


Poland's desire to contribute to a new and more stable Europe is also evident in its active participation in IFOR and SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together with NATO Allies and many other countries, Poland is helping to implement the peace agreement there. We appreciate the strong Polish contribution to the Nordic-Polish Brigade. A lasting peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina will enhance the security and stability of all of Europe.

Mr. Prime Minister, your country's cooperative approach to security is also visible in the importance you attach to good relations with Russia. Indeed, if we want to make full use of the historic opportunity given to us by the end of Europe's division, we must all work together to overcome the residual mistrust and stereotypes that still persist in some quarters in Russia about NATO. No decision has yet been made about who will be invited to start accession negotiations. But, of course, those who will eventually join will be committed to the strong and friendly relationship with Russia we are now developing.

I believe that the cooperation and friendship that has emerged between NATO, Poland and all Partners is a reassuring sign that this new Europe we seek is one of integration and inclusion, a Europe without dividing lines and with a strong Atlantic vocation.

Prime Minister Cimoszewicz, we are delighted to have you here with us today. We await your remarks with great interest.

Introductory remarks by Prime Minister

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