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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid