Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, in his first official visit to Washington, DC, called for an “investment” in relations with Russia.
“You cannot ‘reset’ with 1,000 years of history,” Komorwoski said. “But we can ‘invest’ in new relations with Russia. Reset can happen at the end of the process, not the beginning. “
His first public appearance in the United States as Polish president came at a German Marshall Fund-organized event at the historic Willard Hotel. Komorowski arrived from a meeting at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama.
At the GMF event, Komorowski was introduced by GMF President Craig Kennedy, who used the occasion to announce that GMF will open an office in Warsaw in June 2011.
In a speech peppered with colorful anecdotes and humorous asides, Komorowski spoke of the “luck” of the Polish people, but also of the country’s difficult history sandwiched between Germany and Russia. Komorowski had hosted Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Warsaw earlier this week.
“We want [Russia] to be a country of free people,” he said. “We want to be fine with them…. We aren’t ‘Near Abroad’ for Russia. We are ‘Near West.”
Komorowski also touched on NATO and the recent Lisbon summit, saying that he was happy with the outcome.
“Poland is very consistent in its demands that NATO is built on the same lasting fundamentals” – freedom, democracy, and human rights, he said. “Lisbon was reaffirmation of that commitment.”