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Chairman Calls U.S.-Poland Relationship ‘Vital’

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2009 – Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said his visit today with his Polish counterpart, while “routine,” also was one of great importance to the U.S. military.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is introduced to the staff by Gen. Franciszek Gagor, chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, after a full-honors ceremony welcoming him to Warsaw. DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

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

“It’s a representation of the strength, commitment, and importance of the relationship to both countries,” Mullen said following a military honors ceremony welcoming him to Warsaw.

“This is a vital relationship that from my perspective should continue,” he said. “The Polish military has provided great capability and great results in Iraq and does so today in Afghanistan under the auspices of [the International Security Assistance Force.]”

The United States is very committed to its partnership with Poland and the modernization of that country’s military, Mullen said.

“We’ve had good initial discussions today, and throughout the day those discussions will continue to do exactly what General [Franciszek] Gagor spoke of, which is to deepen the relationship,” Mullen said. “Thank you for the partnership that is so strong. We look forward to it becoming stronger in the future.”

Mullen also praised the “young people” who fulfill the commitments Poland has made in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. “I’m always reminded … of the young people who make this possible, those who sacrifice and, in cases have … given their lives, to support what we share in common and what we believe in,” he said.

The chairman left here June 24 on a week-long trip that has already taken him to Russia where he spoke with his counterpart, Russian Gen. Nikolai Makarov. He spent today talking with Gagor before departing for his final stop in Germany where he and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will preside over the European Command’s change of command ceremony.

Army Gen. John Craddock will turn over EUCOM’s reigns to Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis at Husky Field on Patch Barracks tomorrow.

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

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