News / Europe

    Polish President Presses for Ratification of New START

    President Barack Obama shakes hands with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, during their meeting in Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Dec 8, 2010
    President Barack Obama shakes hands with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, during their meeting in Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Dec 8, 2010

    In talks with President Barack Obama, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has pressed for U.S. Senate ratification of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.  The two men also discussed European missile defense, and NATO strategy in Afghanistan.

    President Komorowski's visit, which Mr. Obama noted was the first by a leader from central or eastern Europe, came as the White House continues efforts to have the U.S. Senate vote on New START before lawmakers leave town for the Christmas holiday.

    President Obama has faced opposition from Republicans on moving ahead to a vote before the end of this year.  In remarks to reporters, however, he voiced confidence about overcoming that roadblock.

    "I am confident that we are going to be able to get the START treaty on the floor, debated and completed, before we break for the holidays."

    Responding to a reporter's question, President Komorowski said Poland views ratification of New START as what he called an important investment in a better and safer future.

    Speaking through an interpreter, he said Poland wants to invest in better relations with Russia, but also is cautious because of its history with its powerful eastern neighbor.

    "If you live just next door with somebody for 1,000 years, it is not possible to reset all the past relations using just one push of the reset button," said Komorowski.  "We are not able to fully reset and delete 1,000 years of uneasy history with Russians, but we do not want to be an obstacle, we want to be a help in the process of resetting relations of the western world with Russia."

    President Komorowski's visit came amid reverberations in Poland about revelations in U.S. diplomatic reports released by WikiLeaks detailing Polish government anger over a military deal with the United States involving Patriot air defense missiles.

    Under an initial European defense plan drawn up under former President George W. Bush, designed to protect against missile launches from Iran, the U.S. agreed to supply Poland with Patriot missiles in return for agreement to station interceptors there.  

    NATO and the Obama administration have altered the plan, and are negotiating with Russia on a new cooperative arrangement to protect against any attack.
    Neither President Obama nor the Polish leader mentioned WikiLeaks in their public remarks. Obama reiterated the U.S. commitment to standing by Poland's defense and security needs, and referred to NATO decisions and steps underway on setting up the missile defense system.

    "That commitment is exemplified by the joint adoption at Lisbon by NATO of a NATO-wide missile defense capacity, it is exemplified by the (U.S.) Air Force detachment that will be placed in Poland as part of our ongoing relationship and training process, it is indicated by the SM-3 and interceptors that are going to be located in Poland as part of our phased adaptive approach to missile defense," said Obama.

    On Afghanistan, where Poland has about 2,500 troops serving with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), President Obama recognized what he called the tremendous sacrifices of Poland's military. Obama said he and the Polish leader reaffirmed the NATO decision to begin transitioning security responsibilities to Afghan forces next year with a goal of completing transition by the end of 2014.

    A formal written joint statement said the U.S. will place 800 U.S. troops under Polish tactical command in Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni Province, and loan an additional 20 Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the Polish military.

    The Wednesday talks also were an opportunity for Obama to express in person his deep condolences for the tragic plane crash in April of this year that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, along with many senior civilian and military officials.  President Komorowski expressed Poland's gratitude for the support and compassion of Americans at the time.


    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora