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Polish President Supports Georgia's EU, NATO Ambitions


Polish President Lech Kaczynski (file photo)

Polish President Lech Kaczynski (file photo)

PRAGUE -- Poland's president has reiterated he supports Georgia's aspirations of NATO membership and closer ties with the European Union.

Lech Kaczynski made the remarks at a press conference during a two-day official visit to Prague.

Responding to a question by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Kaczynski said he had done his best for Tbilisi in the run-up to NATO's 2008 Bucharest summit.

At that meeting, the alliance pledged that Georgia and Ukraine would one day join, but did not put them on an immediate path to membership.

"It is known that I'm a supporter of these Georgian ambitions," Kaczynski said. "Let's take its Euro-Atlantic ambitions first. Why am I in favor? Because, despite all its weaknesses, NATO is a guarantor and an exporter of relative stability. It's a region that for a lot of reasons needs to be stabilized."

Kaczynski emerged as one of Europe's most outspoken backers of Georgia during its brief war with Russia in August 2008.

He traveled to Tbilisi that month with leaders of fellow NATO members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania -- as well as Ukraine's president -- in a show of solidarity with the Caucasus republic.

As regards Georgia's European aspirations, Kaczynski said today the doors of the EU should remain open, though Georgia would not be joining any time soon.

He added that it was part of a region of vital importance to Europe.

"That region is crucial for the future of Europe. I'm speaking not only about Georgia but first and foremost about Azerbaijan, about Turkmenistan -- although it is Azerbaijan that is the country most willing to talk [to us] -- and about Kazakhstan," Kaczynski said. "The fundamental question is whether or not the European Union is going to establish close cooperation with that region, which holds large resources of oil and gas. Or will other solutions be embraced that will only deepen our energy dependence?"

Speaking alongside Kaczynski, Czech President Vaclav Klaus also said the doors of the EU should remain open, but that Georgia would not be joining in the foreseeable future.
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