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Remarks With Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs

Remarks With Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Adam Rotfeld Before Their Meeting

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
May 31, 2005

(11:55 p.m. EDT)


SECRETARY RICE: Let me just take a moment to welcome my colleague and good friend, the Foreign Minister of Poland, very welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER ROTFELD: Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Poland is, of course, a strong friend of the United States, one of our strongest friends in the world. I want to thank you again -- and the Polish people -- for the contributions of Poland to freedom and democracy, to the march of freedom and democracy in Europe, as evidenced in places Ukraine; the march of freedom in the Middle East, and to continue to lead a multinational division in Iraq.

We are going to talk also about bilateral issues today. And I'm pleased to say that we are making progress on the roadmap for the Visa Waiver Program and that Poland is going to experience the clean slate, meaning that the overstays for Poland prior to 1989 when Poland emerged from communism will no longer be counted against the state, and we hope that that will improve the chances for many more Poles to come to the United States. This is a warm and very good relationship between our peoples, and we want to continue that.

Thanks for coming.

FOREIGN MINISTER ROTFELD: Thank you very much. Thank you for good work on (inaudible). I would like to say that, in fact, we did not have in our history such good relations with the United States as now, and thank you, (inaudible) today to put effort and (inaudible) people like you (inaudible)-- also in your previous capacity as the head of the National Security Council and (inaudible). We are expecting that (inaudible) about current events and about bilateral relations, too.

QUESTION: What about the hundred millions of military assistance? Is there a final decisions, or decision, whether Poland will receive the full $100 million?

SECRETARY RICE: The President intends to be able to support Poland at about that level, because this was a promise that he made and it is a promise that he wants to keep.

QUESTION: From the funds -- the Congress voted on some funds. The rest will come from?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we'll see what the source of funding is. But the important thing is that I think Poland can count on funding support for what has been, we know, an expensive, but we really do believe very well worth it, effort in support of the war of the war on terrorism.

MR. BOUCHER: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. 2005/569

Released on May 31, 2005

ENDS

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