Updated: 24-Jan-2003 NATO Speeches


21 November

Statement on NATO Enlargement

by H. E. Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Republic of Poland

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This day will become history!

I wish to express how deeply moved and happy I am that here in Prague, a city of a thousand-year-long history, the place of the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968 and its last meeting eleven years ago, we are making a decision that will finally put an end to the era of Yalta and Potsdam divisions, evil of Ribentropp-Molotov pact, the cold war and the false balance of fear.

Poland is happy and proud that Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia are being invited to participate in our Alliance. I express my respect for the path these countries have gone. The creation of democratic institutions, development of civic society, democratisation and modernisation of the armed forces, have been taken up with great determination.

It is a great satisfaction for Poland that from the very beginning we have supported this process, shared our experiences, built mutual trust.

I am convinced that this decision will make us stronger – and not weaker!

The open-door policy of the Alliance is needed and it ought to be continued. I repeat the proposal I presented in Riga to cooperate with all the countries that wish to join NATO in the future, including the countries that defined clearly their intentions a long time ago.

Today is also a historic day for a man I wish to convey my special thanks to.
President Vaclav Havel! My Dear Friend – you are leaving great monuments of your work:
Defeated communism;
Free and democratic Czech Republic;
Central Europe – so different and at the same time built today around the same values;
Political philosophy free from cynicism and blindness,
and today NATO enlarged with nations that have gone through so much to be finally able to enjoy freedom, democracy and security.

I am happy that I can experience this here and I can say this in your home, Vaclav, in Prague.


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