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Bush Meets With Polish President on Economic Relations, War on Terror

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2003 – President Bush met with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski today at the White House to discuss issues ranging from economic relations between the two countries to the Polish government's recent decision to buy U.S. warplanes.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld escorts Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski into the Pentagon's River Entrance Jan. 14, 2003, for private talks. The Polish leader met with President Bush at the White House later in the day to discuss economic relations between the two countries and Poland's recent decision to buy U.S. F-16 fighter jets for its military. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Bush also hailed the Polish president as an equal partner and for his commitment to work with the United States in the war on terror. America has no better friend in Europe today than Poland, he said.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld greeted Kwasniewski at the Pentagon, where the two held private talks before the meeting with the president.

During a brief press opportunity, Kwasniewski said America has a "unique chance" to accelerate economic activities and investment activities in Poland, which has agreed to purchase several U.S. F-16 fighters to beef up its military forces and NATO presence.

The Polish president praised the addition of the F-16s to his military and called them a "good contribution to our NATO membership."

Kwasniewski agreed with the course of action President Bush has taken in dealing with North Korean nuclear involvement. Although the situation with North Korea is difficult, he said, there is an opportunity for a peaceful resolution.

"We have a chance to propose something very positive to North Korea," he said, adding that there are "enough possibilities to propose a positive solution for this case, but with all international partners."

The White House visit marks Kwasniewski's second visit to Washington since becoming president, and he welcomed the support his country has gotten from the United States.

"I think this is a good sign that our cooperation, our relations are very active and very friendly. I think today is the best time to discuss, because before action, before large decisions, it's necessary to exchange of opinion, of experiences, of some ideas. And that is a very substantial element of my trip to Washington," he said.

Welcoming the contributions of the more than 10 million Polish Americans living in the United States, whom he described as "enterprising, hardworking, God-fearing, family-loving people," President Bush said America's might lies in its diversity.

"One of the great strengths of our country is our diversity, and part of our diversity is the fact that a lot of our citizens were born in Poland, and/or their fathers and mothers were born in Poland, or their grandparents were born in Poland," Bush said. "Truly one of the great blessings and gifts from Poland to this country is the Polish heritage."

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