Kerry – ‚Polish – US alliance is strong’

Kerry – ‚Polish – US alliance is strong’
Secretary of state John Kerry awarded Lieutenant Colonel Wojciech Bagan the Meritorious Service Medal for service in Afghanistan, before departing for Israel after a one-day visit to Poland.
John Kerry awards medal to Lieutenant Colonel Wojciech Bagan: photo - PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski

John Kerry awards medal to Lieutenant Colonel Wojciech Bagan: photo – PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski

The medal, the United States’ highest honor for a soldier serving in a foreign army, was awarded on Tuesday to Lieutenant Colonel Bagan of the GROM special forces for his service as commander of Poland’s troops in Afghanistan.

Poland’s participation in the international ISAF mission in Afghanistan, „is a perfect example that our alliance is strong and we will continue to invest in it. We will not rest on our laurels,” John Kerry said at the award ceremony at the 32nd military airbase in Lask, near Lodz, central Poland.

The Lask airbase is where the first ever US military unit on Polish soil is continuously stationed, as part of four annual American aircraft rotations, two each of F-16 fighter jets and C-130 Hercules planes.

Referring to the ongoing Steadfast Jazz exercise by NATO’s Response Force in Latvia and Poland, Kerry said: „In the coming years, our ability to respond to rapidly changing situations in the world and rapidly emerging threats will require more than one test”.

On Poland’s planned modernization of its armed forces, Kerry said that, „I want you to know that the United States is fully ready to help Poland meet that responsibility[…]. We believe deeply in the quality of the equipment that is behind me, the F-16s, and in other equipment that we produce. And we are prepared to make that equipment available to Poland as it makes its choices about the future and the continued interoperability demands of NATO.”

„As we make good on our historic commitment to peace and to prosperity, we look forward to closer cooperation and we look forward to greater partnership in the years to come. We thank our friends in Poland for their steadfast efforts with the United States,” Kerry added.

Earlier, the US secretary of state had talks with his Polish counterpart, Radoslaw Sikorski, though neither politician would be drawn by questions from journalists on revelations made by whistle-blower Edward Snowden that the United States’ NSA had been tapping into phone calls of German chancellor Angela Merkel and others.

Poland was John Kerry’s only destination in Europe, on a tour of Middle East and North African countries.

Eugeniusz Smolar from the Center for International Relations in Warsaw told the PAP news agency that the purpose of the visit was to „make sure that Polish – US relations are stable”.

After Poland refused to participate in a planned military intervention in Syria and comments made this year by President Bronislaw Komorowski that Polish troops should not be used in anymore foreign conflicts, „Washington’s purpose is to achieve a certain level of predictability” in Polish – US relations, Smolar said.

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Categories: News in English
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