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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More