Polish President Recognizes Genocide

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan–Armenpress)–"No one in the world can dispute the fact of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Genocide is a fact," President of Poland Alexander Kwasniewski said at his November 15 meeting with the students and teaching staff of Yerevan State University.

he said–"Visit to Genocide Memorial was the most important part of my state visit to Armenia as I think that the genocide is a real historical fact. The main issue today is to develop Armenian-Turkish relations"–said Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski during the today’s meeting with the professors and students. President Kwasniewski emphasized that Poland supports Armenia especially when the issue of the Genocide is brought up. He also said that Poland supports Armenia politically–though he–being a president–cannot guarantee that the Polish Parliament will approve the bill on genocide recognition. He also said that Poland understands the issue of genocide much better than other countries as during World War II millions of Jews–Poles and people of other nations were killed by German Nazis in Poland. "We are ready to cooperate with you not only in the process of the genocide issue’s historical settlement. It is time to face the reality and I invite my Turkish friends to speak the truth," stressed Aleksander Kwasniewski.

According to the Polish president–the moment has come when after the Cold War and everything that happened in the world–the Genocide issue should be resolved. "It’s time we told the truth. I believe that the issue of the Genocide must be solved as a historical problem immediately. Such dangers–unfortunately–exist–and it must be addressed."

Alexander Kwasniewski pointed out that before September 11 many nations in the world believed that the misfortunes of others do not concern them. After the September 11 events everyone understood that not only global policy and economy exists but also global dangers. Now is the time to solve all the issues connected with the past–including the most tragic ones–the Polish president said. He also said that all countries of the world should consider the recognition of genocide a primary task.

On the same day–Alexander Kwasniewski visited the Genocide Memorial complex and put a wreath on the monument to the Genocide victims. President Kwasniewski and his wife Jolanta Kwasniewski visited the Genocide Memorial and the Museum–located nearby–and planted a tree next to the Museum.

Speaking to reporters the president of Poland said that the Genocide is an accepted fact–"and what I saw in the Museum are true facts." Kwasniewski said Poles share the grief of the Armenia’s–as they themselves had witnessed the atrocities of World War II.

In the Museum’s visitor’s book Aleksander Kwasniewski wrote–"We share the pain of Armenia’s–regarding the 1915 Genocide. We are sure that by joining our efforts we shall not allow such crimes to be repeated in future."

Kwasniewski is the 13th foreign leader that has visited Armenia this year–eight of them paid homage to the victims of the Genocide.

On Wednesday–the presidents of Poland and Armenia held a joint press conference and discussed the status of the Karabakh conflict. President Kwasniewski supports Armenia’s policies for establishing stability in the region. He said that Poland is interested in finding a peaceful settlement for the Karabakh conflict. The Polish president offered his country’s assistance in the peace process saying–"We are ready to do our best to contribute to the peaceful settlement of the conflict and we are going to discuss the issue with the Armenian president."

President Kocharian said the Karabakh settlement is in a complicated situation and there is little optimism–however–"the two countries’ authorities (Armenia and Azerbaijan) are resolute to be consistent in finding ways for a peaceful settlement."

Both presidents emphasized their adherence to each country’s right to choose its own means of ensuring its security which–as they said–is extremely important both for Poland in the Eastern Europe and Armenia in the Southern Caucasus.

The presidents of Poland and Armenia also expressed their satisfaction with the course of their negotiations and stressed the importance of the talks in the development of bilateral political dialogue According to President Kocharian–Poland is very important to Armenia’s foreign policy–because Poland occupies a key position in European foreign policy–and Poland can be used as an example to Armenia in its successes in reforming its economy–state order–and progress on the way towards joining the European Union. "We’ve accumulated a sufficient amount of resources of political communication–we have determined common interests–and we’ve managed to create solid foundations for effective cooperation between Poland and Armenia," said the President.

At the same time–both presidents expressed their satisfaction with the developing bilateral economic relations. They expressed hope that economic relations will be expanded and further developed in the course of this visit. President Kwasniewski was accompanied by a group of influential businessmen linked not only to the industrial sectors but also to the banking system of Poland who are working specifically toward expanding economic relations. The Polish President was optimistic when the issue of developing economic ties and attraction of Polish investmen’s was discussed.

The two sides also discussed the war on terrorism and international relations after September 11. Kocharian said–"I appreciate the dialogue and the active cooperation between our countries and I hope that as a result of this cooperation–whatever remnants of the "cold war" their might still be are destroyed." According to Robert Kocharian–the consolidation of the international community in the anti-terrorism struggle is inevitable and its results are already visible. The settlement of local conflicts became especially urgent–after September 11–and in the context of the anti-terrorism war.

The Presidents signed a joint statement on Wednesday as well. The joint declaration they signed is an elaboration of the Declaration on the development of cooperation and friendly relations between the two countries–signed in Warsaw on July 14–1999. The Warsaw declaration stressed that the two countries should cooperate within the framework of the world and regional organizations and different programs. The sides say that–in particular–they will expand their dialogue on political–economic problems and problems of security. They acknowledge the necessity of the further development of economic relations between the two countries–they will closely cooperate to achieve a level that is satisfactory to both nations–and they agreed to work together until the EU-sponsored "INOGATE" program is successfully realized. Poland also pledged to help expedite Armenia’s accession in the "Conference of Ministers of Transport" organization.

According to the joint statement–both countries agreed to deepen the interaction between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries in order to discuss and help each other solve problems that effect the two countries–particularly the problems of European integration.

The Presidents of Poland and Armenia also expressed their willingness to contribute to the international communities actions directed at the eradication of terrorism and they expressed their support for the Program of action and Conclusions of the Extraordinary European Council–which was held on September 21–2001.

The Polish side hails the membership of Armenia in the Council of Europe and continues to contribute valuable to the cause of Armenia’s membership in the World Trade Organization.

Poland’s president also paid a visit to the Armenian parliament to meet with parliament speaker Armen Khachatrian–as well as deputy chairmen–and heads of the parliamentary committees and fractions.

Armen Khachatrian underlined the fact that the Armenian-Polish agreement on cooperation and friendship–signed in July–1999 promoted the development of the relations between the two countries.

Khachatrian particularly underlined the importance of the development of trade-economic relations–outlining the fact that the legal fields of the two countries should support the development of economic relations–by creating the necessary conditions for free economic activities.

According to Kwasniewski–Armenia is the most interesting partner in the region–as a stable country. It is clear that Poland will be interested in making the relations with the East closer and deeper–so close relations with Armenia is especially important for Poland. Poland is also important for Armenia in that Poland will be a member of NATO and the EU–and its actions and lessons can be an example to Armenia as Armenia further develops.

Poland’s Embassy was opened in Armenia January 27–2001 and Piotr Ivaskevic was appointed Poland’s temporary charge d’affairs. Kwasniewski said that as soon as he returns to Poland–every effort will be made to realize all the arrangemen’s and agreemen’s signed in Yerevan.

The current level of Armenian-Polish economic relations–in particular trade circulation–is at zero Chairman of the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia Arsen Ghazarian said during a meeting with 28 businessmen accompanying Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski. He pointed out that the president of the two countries had also expressed their discontent with the current state of the economic relations of the two countries. The participants of the meeting emphasized the importance of Armenian-Polish economic cooperation in the transport–energy–trade spheres–as well as in the sphere of light industry and jeweler’s art.

According to Executive Director of the Armenian Development Agency Vahagn Movsissian–several ways of cooperation have already been outlined. A Polish businessman is ready to invest in the construction of a hydro-power plant on the river Akhurian. There was a proposal to set up paper production in Armenia also.

According to Polish businessmen–the main obstacle to the development of bilateral economic relations is both sides’ lack of information about each others’ economic legislation and contractual-legal field.

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