The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 17, 2002

President Bush Welcomes President of Poland for State Visit
Remarks by President Bush and President Kwasniewski in Arrival Ceremony
The South Lawn

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President's Remarks
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9:10 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, Madam First Lady, members of the Polish delegation, distinguished guests, on behalf of the American people, it is my great honor to welcome you to the United States. (Applause.)

This is the -- only the second state visit of my administration, and it symbolizes the high importance America places on our friendship with Poland. This friendship is rooted in our common history and sustained by our common values.

This generation of Poles has written a story of courage and determination that has inspired America and has inspired the world. (Applause.) Out of a past filled with pain and oppression, Poland is constructing a future defined by greater freedom, good relations with its neighbors, and increasing influence throughout Europe.

And today, Mr. President, we meet as leaders of two strong, mature democracies, ready to shape a new era of freedom and security. Together, Poland and America are standing and fighting side by side in the war against global terrorism. (Applause.) From military forces -- from military forces to law enforcement, terrorist financing and intelligence, Poland's support and solidarity in this great struggle has been unqualified. And America is deeply grateful. (Applause.)

Our nations are determined to lead the way in NATO's efforts to develop new capabilities to meet new threats. We're united in our determination that our children will inherit a world defined not by fear and chaos, but by tolerance and freedom.

Together, Poland and America are building that freedom on the continent of Europe. Today, a new Europe is within our grasp, one that is whole and free, and at peace for the first time in its history. (Applause.)

In November, the President and I will join other NATO leaders in Prague to decide on inviting new members into -- into the alliance. On this issue, Poland and America stand united. We believe in NATO membership for all European democracies ready to share in NATO's responsibilities. (Applause.) Our aim is for freedom and security to span the European continent from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean to the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.

Together, Poland and America are also building our common prosperity. The trade and investment that flows between our countries creates jobs and lifts lives on both continents. We're determined to bring the benefits of trade and markets to all our citizens.

Today, Poland and America are forging a new strategic relationship, but the friendship between our people is very old. Nine million Americans claim Polish descent. Over two centuries ago, when Americans were fighting for our independence, Poles fought alongside us. In the century just passed, as Poles reclaimed their independence, America stood by Poland. (Applause.)

And today, Poland and America stand and fight together for our common freedom, and for bringing the hope of freedom to all who seek it in the world.

Mr. President, in June of last year you welcomed Laura and me to Poland. You showed us a nation of deep faith, a central part of Europe's soul. And you showed us a nation alive with liberty and energy and enterprise. Today, Laura and I are honored to welcome you and the First Lady to an America that is proud to call Poland friend and ally, and a partner. (Applause.)

Thank you for coming, and welcome. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT KWASNIEWSKI: Mr. President, Ms. Laura Bush, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to express cordial thanks to President George Walker Bush for having invited me to pay an official visit to the United States of America. I have arrived here with readiness and joy you feel when you come to meet your best friend. The President's cordiality reconfirms my faith in good future of Polish-American friendship, lasting over 200 years. Never before have we had so much in common, and never before has so much resulted from these bonds. Today, Poland and the United States, despite big geographical distance, are partners and allies.

Mr. President, First Lady, ladies and gentleman, I wish to note with pride that for some time we Poles have been bringing good news to America. Our country has undergone deep internal transformation. We are a democratic country, politically and economically stable. Soon Poland will become a member of the European Union. We are a country that shares its success and experience with others to make the whole Central, Eastern and Southern Europe the area of close cooperation and secure development, an enlarged NATO and enhanced partnership with Russia.

We are impressed by American ideals, fascinated by American achievements. It is a satisfaction to us that American citizens of Polish origin have largely contributed to the success of the United States. I greet all of you here in front of White House. (Applause.)

We are grateful to America, you, Mr. President, and your predecessors, for good will and help we have been receiving in Poland for dozen of years -- in all our efforts. Poland is steadfast ally of the United States. We take over the co-responsibility for European and global security. On the 11th of September, all of us felt New Yorkers. (Applause.)

Two months later, on my initiative, we organized in Warsaw a conference on combating terrorism in which 17 heads of state and government from our region of Europe participated. We have undertaken giant efforts to make sure that there is no place in the world for terrorist madmen. (Applause.)

Poles understand very well that freedom means readiness to defend values we treasure. Throughout the centuries, we have often fought for our freedom, and yours also in the American continent. Today our soldiers serve in numerous peace operations, from the Balkans, through the Middle East, to Afghanistan. It is our contribution to the defense of American and Polish future.

Once again, thank you for the invitation, and I wish to assure you, Mr. President, that Poland as a part of Europe having vital interest in reinforcing strong transatlantic bonds, shall cooperate with the United States. The United States and Poland can do much individually, but together they can achieve much more.

Our conviction and faith that what we are doing is right, we are taking largely from the example of the United States. In its policy, we find confirmation that these values are not an empty slogan, but a living motto: substance of everyday life, and the only axis of good. (Applause.)

From Poland, a country that is far, but also so close, I'm bringing best greetings and wishes to the President, to First Lady, to all Americans, and the whole America. God bless America. (Applause.)

END 9:21 A.M. EDT


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