The 17th Anniversary of Poland’s Accession to NATO
The President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, sent a letter to the participants, that was read by the National Security Office Chief, Paweł Sołoch.
“After seventeen years since our country's accession to NATO, we become increasingly convinced how important and necessary this act was for the security of Poland. (…) We need to develop and place respect in our own, strong military, but also we need to strengthen NATO’s guarantees in case of any threat.
In direct terms, NATO remains the main external pillar of security of the Republic of Poland,” wrote President Andrzej Duda in his letter.
The President also recalled in his letter, that Poland fully understands that NATO membership carries with it not only privileges, but also responsibility.
“As hosts of the Summit, we want to see decisions taken in Warsaw bringing about a real strengthening of the security of Europe,” wrote Andrzej Duda.
During the conference, historical notes were presented by Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Witold Waszczykowski, Minister Piotr Naimski, Minister Jan Parys and Sławomir Cenckiewicz, director of the Central Military Archives. Letters were also read from former Prime Ministers Jan Olszewski and Jarosław Kaczyński.
“The year 2016 is the year in which Poland will host the most important event of the free world, the NATO Summit in Warsaw (...) The NATO Summit in Warsaw which, as we hope, and is our intention, will change the nature of the Polish presence in NATO once and for all. It will thus complete the long journey (...) and will make Poland and the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, full members of NATO. I want to emphasize that on this road all parties, on both the Polish and Alliance members’ side, played their important role, for which I want to say thank you,” said Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz during the meeting.
The Minister of Defense pointed out that, “not only the Government and the Armed Forces, but the entire Polish nation stands on the basis of Alliance unity and defense against possible aggression, no matter from which direction it would come. I am convinced, and Poles are convinced, that our determination will find full reflection and complete reciprocity on the part of our Allies in July, during the NATO Summit,” stressed Antoni Macierewicz.
In a letter addressed to the participants of the conference, referring to the history and future of the Alliance, former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski wrote: “The 17th anniversary of joining NATO in a natural way brings to mind a reflection over the course of this process that brought Poland into the biggest, the most effective military and political alliance arising in the 20th century and functioning to this very day. (...) For those 17 years, regardless of what kind of government was in place during this period, Poland has been an incredibly loyal and financially responsible partner of the Alliance. The geopolitical situation in the past few years has undergone a fairly substantial change. The Ukrainian conflict and current Russian policy places us and the entire eastern flank of the Alliance in a completely new situation, requiring new solutions. This year's NATO Summit in Warsaw undoubtedly stands up to this challenge and must respond to this challenge (...).
“On March 12, 1999, Poland became a full member of NATO, and four days later, for the first time in history. Our white-and-red flag fluttered atop a mast in front of the Alliance headquarters. We know that this success would not have been possible without the support of other members of the Alliance. (…) Today it is hard to imagine NATO without Poland and Poland without NATO. This is also confirmed by the fact that Warsaw will be the place of the upcoming July Summit, and our country for the first time will serve as its host. (…) In celebrating this anniversary, we must be aware that just beyond our eastern border, which at the same time is NATO's border, the situation is difficult. The Alliance faces new challenges, to which the real answer should be defined in Warsaw during the July Summit. However, regardless of the current geopolitical situation, there is no doubt that the road that we have taken together over two decades ago, and that led the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Estonians and Hungarians to NATO membership, was the right road. Today we can celebrate, because this is an important day not only for the Poles, and I am deeply convinced, that also for the entire Alliance”, wrote former Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński to the conference attendees.