- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 13, 2004

Poland knows very well’

Poland has no regrets about joining the U.S.-led coalition that removed Saddam Hussein, and it plans to stay in Iraq as long as necessary, according to the Polish ambassador.

“Polish troops joined the coalition against Saddam Hussein because he was a brutal and ruthless dictator who defied international orders and threatened the security of the region,” Ambassador Przemyslaw Grudzinski told a Heritage Foundation forum attended by our correspondent Stephanie Dornschneider.

“As a result of our history, Poland knows very well that dictators must be confronted and not appeased.”

Poland, which lost two soldiers in combat last week, has 2,400 troops in Iraq who are likely to stay even if the command shifts from the United States to the United Nations. The ambassador said most Polish troops deployed abroad serve in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Grudzinski said Polish-American relations are “deeply rooted” and “grounded firmly in the mutually shared values of freedom and democracy” and “have only become stronger.”

However, the ambassador urged the Bush administration to include Poles in a program that exempts them from visas for short stays in the United States.

“It would be proper to include Poland into the visa-waiver program,” he said.

Mr. Grudzinski also called for more U.S. investment in Poland. The United States, which has made $8.5 billion in private investment during the past 14 years, has slipped from being the biggest foreign investor in Poland to the third-largest.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans and Andrew Natsios, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Tomorrow he meets President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and members of Congress. He is accompanied by Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan foreign minister.

• Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies on U.S.-African trade.

• Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian, who meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones, Pentagon officials and members of Congress on his two-day visit.

Tomorrow

• Brazilian civic leaders Maria das Gracas Marcal, Aparecido Goncalves and Sergio Gregorio Baierle, who address the Inter-American Dialogue.

• Egypt’s finance minister, Mednet Hassenein, its minister of state for foreign affairs and cooperation, Fayza Abul-Naga; and Hernando de Soto, president of the Peru-based Institute for Liberty and Democracy. They participate in a discussion on democracy and the Middle East in a forum organized by the Institute for International Economics.

• Natan Sharansky, Israel’s minister of diaspora affairs and a former Soviet dissident, addresses the Congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe at 2 p.m. in Room 2212 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

• Sam Pitroda, who served as an adviser to former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and Shekhar Tiwari, who served as an adviser to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. They discuss the recent Indian election with guests at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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