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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

Donald Tusk at Downing Street to meet David Cameron.

Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, to Downing Street.

During their discussions in Number 10, the PM said they agreed to work together “very closely” in the European Union where the two countries share similar perspectives on the need for greater competition, greater deregulation and a determination to make Europe a “high growth rather than a slow growth area of the world”.

Mr Cameron also said the two leaders discussed the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa and agreed the EU should support the popular revolts.

Speaking after the meeting, the PM said:

“We had very good discussions about what is happening in Libya and North Africa and the Arab world, where we agreed Europe should make a strong and welcoming response to the Arab Spring.”
The PM said the two leaders also discussed Poland’s role in NATO, hailing their ”strong, shared efforts” in Afghanistan.

“Both Poland and Britain are making a huge contribution and we agreed to work together for a successful outcome.”

April 18, 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

Krakow – on the verge of flooding disaster (updated 21.17 18/5/10)

KRAKOW TOURS – Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Interior Minister Jerzy Miller are to visit areas most affected by recent flooding throughout southern Poland.

At a meeting with journalists Tuesday morning, Miller said that “[Monday] night was not so bad for the Malopolska province, as rain came in the early hours of the morning. It was worse for Silesia, where it rained all night,” adding that “the scale of destruction may well be higher than what we saw yesterday.”

Rainfall is higher than it was in 1997, when there was widescale flooding in southern Poland as well as throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to Miller, the situation in Krakow is “similar to that of 1997.”

Donald Tusk arrived in Krakow, Monday night, where he spoke to governors of the provinces most affected by flooding.

After the meeting, Tusk said that the situation is “not completely catastrophic,” although emergency services are still working flat out to keep the flooding situation in check.

Donald Tusk said that the flood situation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia will not have an adverse effect on continuing floods in Poland. The comment came as five retention pools along the River Oder in the Czech Republic became completely full, with one town, Troubky, 90 percent under water.

Interior Minister Jerzy Miller is in communication with the Czech Minister of Defence over any potential flooding threats that might come from the Czech Republic.

Heavy rain over the weekend led many rivers to rise above warning levels. On Sunday night, Krakow mayor Jacek Majchrowski announced a state of emergency when the River Vistula was 74 cm over the warning mark in Poland’s southern city. On Tuesday morning, that level had risen to over 300 cm, with many roads and underpasses closed and river water almost reaching bridge levels.

Four people have died so far from the flooding. Two people died in Malopolska province, and one fireman suffered a heart attack during a rescue mission in neighbouring Silesia. The latest victim of the “great water” is an 8 year old boy who fell into a river in Krakow.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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