For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 15, 2001
Joint Statement by President George W. Bush and President Aleksander Kwasniewski
President George W. Bush and President Aleksander Kwasniewski affirm the deep friendship that exists between the United States and Poland, based on our common commitment to democratic values and our common resolve to build a stronger Transatlantic alliance and a 21st century Europe whole, free, and at peace. For more than ten years Poland and the United States have worked together to advance and maintain democracy in Europe. This is made possible by the existence of an independent Poland, a vision for years nurtured by Poles who, among the first of the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, initiated a successful march to freedom. The friendship of the two countries is deeply rooted in a common tradition of striving towards freedom, a goal fostered for generations by Americans of Polish descent who, while contributing to the success of the United States, never forgot the country of their ancestors.
We affirm that NATO will remain the essential foundation of Transatlantic security. We will work together and with our other NATO Allies to adapt NATO to new missions and new challenges, by strengthening its capabilities; admitting to our ranks European democracies prepared to assume the responsibilities of membership; and extending cooperation with Ukraine, Russia, and other members of the Partnership for Peace. Poland's entry into NATO in 1999 marked a milestone in its return to the Transatlantic community and increased Europe's security overall. NATO's continuing enlargement will allow new Allies to join with and make contributions to a more secure and undivided Europe and Euroatlantic area. We will work together to advance NATO's enlargement, upon meeting objective criteria by the candidate countries, at NATO's Prague Summit in November 2002. The future enlargement of NATO will significantly contribute to the security of the Euroatlantic community of nations.
Poland and the United States support efforts of NATO's European Union members and other EU nations to assume greater responsibility for crisis management by committing new resources to strengthen their and NATO's capabilities and developing the ability to manage efforts where NATO as a whole chooses not to engage, through the European Union's European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). The United States and Poland believe it is essential that the EU develop capabilities in a manner that is fully coordinated, compatible, and transparent with NATO, and to provide for the fullest possible participation of non-EU European Allies.
Poland's success in building democracy and market economy is relevant to the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe. Poland and the United States reaffirm their support for future Ukrainian integration into Western institutions as a solid base for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, free market economy and civil society. We pledge to work with our allies to this end, and call on Ukraine's leadership to rebuild a consensus for the reforms needed to achieve this goal. We note with satisfaction the successful completion of United States programs assisting Poland's economic reforms, and agree to cooperate in supporting Poland's efforts to share the lessons of Poland's experience with neighbors seeking assistance.
We note with pride the achievements of the Polish American Enterprise Fund, one of the first initiatives launched in the new, free Poland by President George H.W. Bush, which achieved enormous success, and continues its efforts through its successor foundation, the Polish American Freedom Foundation (PAFF). We are gratified by the growing role of the PAFF and other civic organizations as a conduit for sharing Poland's free market, democratic experience in the region.
We are committed to strengthening mutual contacts by creating an environment conducive for investment and growth of trade. We are certain that young generations of Poles and Americans will continue to look for solutions to problems and challenges of the new millennium. This is another way in which Poland, the United States and their friends are working together to nurture democracy and prosperity.
We reaffirm our commitment to work with the European Union and other partners to consolidate peace and build lasting stability in Southeast Europe based on democratic governance, the rule of law, and increasing integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. We condemn extremists, such as those in Macedonia, who subvert the democratic process through the use of violence. Our two countries are committed to NATO-led operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, and will work with our allies with a view to transfer, step by step and as circumstances will permit, responsibilities for public security from combat forces to specialized units and international police, and ultimately to local authorities.
We will continue to combine our efforts in promoting observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe and beyond. We will continue to work together on new challenges to security, going beyond military threats, such as combating terrorism and organized crime. While noting the complex nature of the world's problems, we will undertake and support initiatives aimed towards such goals as balanced development, fighting drug trafficking and the spread of the HIV virus. We recognize the fundamental importance of human rights and their impact on international security, and shall continue to advocate worldwide respect for them.
We face a common threat from the growing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and increasingly sophisticated missiles for their delivery. We are engaged in a consultation process with all interested parties about this new threat. We agree on the need for a comprehensive security strategy that encompasses both offensive and defense deterrent systems, continues nuclear arms reductions, and strengthens WMD and missile proliferation controls and counter-proliferation measures.
We reaffirm that Poland's transatlantic economic ties should facilitate its accession into the EU. Recognizing our common goal of open markets, we both support the launch of a new multilateral trade round this year. The United States welcomes Poland's candidate status in the European Union and recognizes that EU membership will provide the United States and Poland with new trade and investment opportunities.
We note with satisfaction the efforts by public and private institutions in our two countries to address the crimes and injustices of World War II and the Holocaust. We hope to see prompt implementation of the multilateral agreement on compensation for victims of slave and forced labor during the Second World War.
Recognizing the historic ties and democratic values that link our two peoples, we pledge to work together as friends and close allies in Europe and beyond to advance our common interests and values.