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President Obama, ends European tour in Poland

US President Barack Obama has reaffirmed relations between the US and Poland, as his six-day tour of Europe drew to a close.

He praised Poland’s economic growth and its support of pro-democracy movements in North Africa and the Middle East.

Mr Obama also said the shelving of his predecessor’s plan to build a missile defence shield in Poland did not put the country or region at risk.

Poland PM Donald Tusk said 0ne had been reassured by Mr Obama’s words.

In a brief press conference with Mr Tusk, Mr Obama said Poland was “one of our strongest and closest allies and a leader in Europe” and “a living example of what is possible when countries take reform seriously”.

He praised efforts by members of Poland’s Soviet-era pro-democracy Solidarity movement to offer support to Egypt’s post-revolution government.

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Warsaw says Polish leaders had been hoping Mr Obama would rectify what many saw as a slight, when he cancelled President George W Bush’s missile shield plan as part of efforts to “reset” US relations with Russia.

Many in Poland were disappointed when the US decided not to go ahead with the shield on Polish soil, says our correspondent, reading is as deference to Russia and as a sign of a lack of commitment to Poland.

Mr Obama repeated his insistence that the strategy was about reaffirming the Nato principles of mutual defence, saying it allowed their two countries to deal with shared threats.

“Nato is the strongest alliance in history primarily because it has a very simple principle – that we defend each other,” he said.

“What we want to do is create an environment in this region in which peace and security are a given – that’s not just good for this region, it’s good for United States of America. We will always be there for Poland.”

Mr Tusk said Mr Obama’s words “give us the sense that together we work for the purpose of Polish security” and that the US strategy was “the best way to guarantee security for Poland”.

The two countries also announced plans to hold high-level bilateral business meetings to promote ways of boosting economic growth.

Mr Obama said they had discussed co-operation on “a range of clean energy initiatives” including natural gas projects and nuclear power.

Poland has reserves of shale which hold natural gas.

Our correspondent says Germany and Russia do not want those reserves opened up, Germany for environmental reasons and Russia perhaps because it currently exports much gas to the whole region.

He says the hope in Warsaw was that Mr Obama would support the opening of the shale reserves, ideally with the help of American energy companies.

The US had already announced one new initiative on security – to set up a US air detachment in Poland to train Polish personnel.

However, Mr Obama has not granted Poland’s desire for a visa waiver for its citizens travelling to the US.

May 28, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama could be in Krakow in May

US President Barack Obama may spend a few hours in the city of Kraków during his visit to Poland in late May and place flowers at the tomb of the late President Lech Kaczynski in the Wawel Cathedral.

According to the Dziennik newspaper, which quotes a Polish government official, no decision has yet been taken but this is an option under serious consideration.

President Obama will be in Poland on 27 and 28 May.

The US president was to attend Lech Kaczynski’s state funeral last April following his death in the Smolensk air disaster but the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud made travelling to Poland impossible.

Dziennik quotes an unofficial source suggesting that the idea of paying tribute to the late Polish president came from the US Embassy in Warsaw.

The first anniversary of the air crash in Smolensk, western Russia, which killed the Polish President, the First Lady and 94 other people, mostly high-ranking state and military officials is on 10 April.

March 30, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

President Obama to visit Poland soon?

KRAKOW TOURS – US president Barack Obama is to take part in the summit of Central and East European countries to be held in Warsaw at the end of April.

The information comes from Foreign Ministry sources.

Reacting to the unofficial news, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told Polish Radio that “from our point of view the US is, and shall be, [Poland’s] most important ally.”

“We understand this is not always reciprocal, bearing in mind the force it represents. However, this would testify to the gravity of Polish-US relations. Let’s not look for different contexts. This is good news and I hope it will materialise,” PM Tusk added.

The information was first revealed by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper on its website, while Polish Radio received confirmation from the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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