Aleksander Kwasniewski: Europe and America must face this challenge together

From a speech by the President of Poland, given at University College London
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The decision to send Polish troops to Iraq was one of the toughest of my life. We are not deaf or blind to different aspects of the international debate. However, Poland is convinced that it has made the right choice, that it is serving the right cause

The decision to send Polish troops to Iraq was one of the toughest of my life. We are not deaf or blind to different aspects of the international debate. However, Poland is convinced that it has made the right choice, that it is serving the right cause. We will accomplish the mission we have taken on. Polish soldiers will not be pulled out of Iraq, though they will not stay there a day longer than necessary.

Simultaneously, Poland sees a need to embrace the stabilisation mission under well-defined UN auspices. We are in favour of engaging multinational Nato forces in that operation. The alliance has fulfilled a positive role in Afghanistan. The course of events in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrates how significant the co-operation of the international community is when faced with new challenges. In matters of international security, the United States needs Europe.

None of the countries in the world is able to cope with global challenges on its own. Contemporary threats are so enormous that only through joint actions of the united Europe along with its American allies can we stand up to them effectively. That is why our goal should be to get rid of a selfish way of thinking and to unify in the name of the common cause.

The ties between the Polish and British allies have a long history. We faced together the Nazi totalitarianism, we fought against it arm in arm. The united Europe that we are enjoying so much today has emerged also from our blood and hardship. Now we must strengthen her, together. Together - only together - we are more powerful.

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