• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland
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  • 19 January 2017

    Speech by the President of the Republic of Poland at the seminar entitled Poland and Israel: Confronting Global and Regional Challenges

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    First and foremost, I should like to thank wholeheartedly the President and the Director of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations – Mr. Dan Meridor and Mr. Laurence Weinbaum for inviting me to the Polish-Israeli conference dedicated to cooperation of our countries in the international arena. I also wish to thank Director Sławomir Dębski for making Polish Institute of International Affairs part of the project.


    Poland and Israel enjoy very good relations, and our nations have shared more than a thousand years of mutual interaction. Therefore, it seems advisable that experts should jointly reflect on perspectives of cooperation in the international space. Even more so, given the fact that over the last few years history has accelerated dramatically. New challenges and threats have emerged to which we should find a common answer.


    Ladies and Gentlemen,


    In my opening address I would like to outline the directions of my foreign policy. I am firmly convinced that the process of building permanent and mature relations between nations should be based not on short-term interests but rather on shared principles and values. That is why the priorities of my policy focus on two universal notions: the notion of SECURITY and the notion of COMMUNITY. In a world engulfed by conflicts, grappling with increasingly brutal acts of terrorism, the sense of security and belonging to a community is the basic desire of our societies.


    The best guarantee of global peace and security is solidarity-based, consistent and determined defence of order founded on international law. The key element thereof is the significant strengthening of the deterrence and defence potential in all places where factors are involved which constitute a real threat to stability and peace. Whatever the nature of such a threat might be – conventional or hybrid one. One should ensure that everyone who, even for a short while, tempts to the logic of the "law of force”, with the use of military means, instantly understands that it simply does not pay off. It is precisely this mechanism that underpins the true "force of law”.


    Therefore, it is the strategic goal of the Republic of Poland to implement, as soon as possible, all decisions taken by the North Atlantic Alliance at the Warsaw NATO Summit. It predominantly refers to the establishment of the enhanced forward presence of the Alliance in the so called Eastern flank, as well as more intensive cooperation with NATO partners in the Baltic Sea region and in the East. Everywhere where nowadays aggressive actions are undertaken which undermine the European order based on international agreements.


    Security through deterrence does not exclude a dialogue. Quite on the contrary – we have always been and will continue to be ready for dialogue. However, for such a dialogue to be effective, it has to be conducted from the position of trust in one`s own defence potential. This is precisely the reason why Poland has been gradually increasing its spending on the Armed Forces while modernizing them dynamically at the same time. We count on the Polish-Israeli cooperation in the field of defence.


    Still, a responsible security policy needs to go beyond its direct neighbourhood. In my conversations with the Allies, I have repeatedly stressed that Poland is opposed to the so called "regionalization” of security and its rationing across given areas. Globalization and the nature of contemporary threats make vulnerable also those countries which are situated far away from the direct source of threat. Furthermore, should we consider security an important value, then we have to acknowledge that, as such, it is indivisible. In other words – that all our Allies deserve it equally.


    Driven by responsibility in that sense of the word, Poland is involved in fighting threats in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean. We are an active member of the international coalition against the so called Islamic State. As part of the operation Inherent Resolve we have deployed two military contingents: an airborne contingent carrying out reconnaissance tasks and a contingent for training purposes. In this context, I would like to commend Israel`s actions aimed at fighting terrorism, including its active cooperation with Egypt in order to eliminate Daesh structures in Sinai. This is a proof of the significant role that the State of Israel plays in stabilizing the situation in the region.


    A responsible security policy also involves humanitarian and development aid in the conflict-stricken regions. Driven by care for those suffering due to the war in Syria, Poland has increased its commitment in the Middle East. Moreover, we have been taking an active part in stabilization efforts of the situation in the Mediterranean, which is volatile due to massive migration flows onto the European continent. Today I am satisfied to say that Poland was among those EU states which consistently stressed, right from the start, that the migration crisis has to be tackled at its real, direct source. And humanitarian aid has invariably been one of the key instruments in that respect.


    Ladies and Gentlemen,


    The Republic of Poland is aware that for Israel the fundamental challange in the Middle East region is presented by its relations with the Palestinian side. We are consistent in our support for initiatives aimed at working out a two-state model of peaceful coexistence. We believe that the reopening of peace talks is possible, however without imposing concrete outcomes, which should be achieved in the course of direct negotiations. The resulting lasting peace should take into consideration the interests of both parties, including the security of the Jewish State, acknowledgment of Israel by the Arab States, as well as complete normalization of mutual relations.


    Ladies and Gentlemen,


    Tensions and conflicts in the contemporary world are creating ever deeper divisions in the international arena. They feed on particularistic interests and lack of mutual trust. This is perceived by our societies who appreciate the value of community among states, both: the one built on the political level, as well as the economic one. We need to remember that together we are always stronger and have more opportunities to act. Therefore, Poland wishes to develop cooperation among nations on three platforms: the regional, the European and the global one.


    We`ve been consistently forging closer relations with our East-European partners. They extend beyond the Visegrad Group. We have also initiated the so called "3 Seas” cooperation, spanning countries from the Baltic, to the Adriatic to the Black Sea. We are committed to a better integration of the region in terms of transportation and energy infrastructure. In order to intensify cooperation in these fields, we have decided to host in Poland the 2nd Summit of the 3 Seas States, which is scheduled to take place in a few months, in July 2017, in Wroclaw.


    Being a responsible member of the European Union, Poland is an advocate of European unity. Though, the way the situation in Europe evolves, demonstrates that the EU is in need of some indispensable changes. They should serve to enhance its democratic legitimacy and increase EU citizens` trust in its institutions, as well as boost its economic competitiveness and its standing in the international arena. With our involvement in solving the current problems we want to make Europe stable enough to undertake the common effort of introducing reforms in the European Union.


    The transatlantic bond is of special importance to us. The United States is the pillar of stability in the Euro-Atlantic world, as well as our main Ally in the international arena. Therefore, we are committed to enhancing our mutual relations in such areas as: defence, energy and innovation. We count on fruitful cooperation with the new US administration in this respect.


    In the global perspective, we want to develop economic cooperation wherever a potential for that exists. In my capacity as President of the Republic of Poland, I am especially committed to translating top-level contacts into active investment cooperation. This includes also countries on continents distant from Poland, such as the Far East or Africa.


    Having said that, I wish to express my satisfaction with the high volume of economic exchange between Poland and Israel. Nevertheless, we can still see a big potential for deepening our cooperation in the sector of innovations and high technologies. Isreal unquestionably is one of the leaders in the area of innovation. That is why I have brought with me representatives of Polish start-ups, young and innovative buisnesses who hope to establish cooperation with Israeli companies. I hope that my visit will give a strong impulse to furthering Polish-Israeli economic relations.


    Ladies and Gentlemen,


    Warsaw is becoming increasingly important as the centre of politics in Central Europe. It is proved by the growing number of foreign experts in the capital of my country. New think-tanks are opening their branches there, foreign research institutes are also making their presence. I am truly satisfied that this year Warsaw will see the opening of the American Jewish Committee office. Another demonstration of Poland`s increasing importance, I believe, is cooperation between the Israel Council on Foreign Relations and the Polish Institute of Foreign Affairs. It is my great hope that we will witness its further development in the future.


    Ladies and Gentlemen,


    Security and community are the two values of fundamental importance for Poles. Looking at Israel`s history I can clearly see how significant they are also for the Jewish Nation. I wish to share with you my great hope that these values will continue to serve as pillars of a permanent partnership between our states and our nations.


    Thank you for your attention and may I wish you fruitful discussions!


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