- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2001

Polish contribution
Poland has offered to contribute about 300 specialized troops to help the United States in the war in Afghanistan, the Polish ambassador said yesterday.
Ambassador Przemyslaw Grudzinski said the soldiers are experts in fields such as biological and chemical warfare. Poland is also sending a logistics ship.
Poland, as a new member of NATO, was ready to help as soon as the alliance invoked the mutual-defense clause of the NATO Charter after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the ambassador told editors and reporters of The Washington Times over lunch at the Polish Embassy.
"We told NATO we will provide more if needed," he said.
Mr. Grudzinski said Poland is "under no illusion" about the war on terrorism.
"We know this is going to be a long campaign," he said. "Poland will be there for the United States for as long as it takes."
The ambassador also said Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network has no cells in Poland.
"They would be noticed," he said, explaining there are few Arabs in Poland, where 98 percent of the population are ethnic Poles.
However, the threat of terrorism poses the difficult problem of trying to maintain open borders while maintaining security, he said.
Mr. Grudzinski, in a wide-ranging discussion, also talked about next week's visit of Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, who will meet Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. The ambassador reviewed Poland's position on the next expansion of NATO and the alliance's growing relations with Russia.
Mr. Cimoszewicz, who was appointed foreign minister last month, will also present Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, with Poland's second-highest award, the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Merit, for her work on behalf of U.S.-Polish relations.
Miss Mikulski "was an active player" in the first round of NATO enlargement that brought Poland into the alliance, Mr. Grudzinski said.
She also helped establish a memorial in Baltimore to the 15,400 Polish prisoners of war who were massacred by Soviet troops in 1940 in Russia's Katyn Forest, the ambassador added.
Mr. Cimoszewicz, on his Dec. 13-14 visit, is also expected to discuss the next anticipated expansion of NATO and to express Poland's support for the seven chief candidates Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
As for Russia's potential future relations with NATO, Poland has urged a cautious approach, the ambassador said.
"We should build on what was good but not try to reinvent the world after September 11," he said. "My preference is to go step by step."

Not leaving Pakistan
The Pakistan Embassy yesterday wearily denied, yet again, rumors that the wife of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was planning to buy a house in Washington or New York.
The rumor made it appear that Gen. Musharraf, who took power in a coup, might be preparing for a backlash against his support for the U.S. war in Afghanistan and looking for a safe pied-a-terre in America.
Embassy spokesman Mian Asad Hayauddin said the report first appeared in an Indian newspaper and a Pakistani newspaper last week knocked down the story. The legendary regional rivalry between the two countries extends to their media.
The report surfaced again yesterday among the State Department press corps, when a reporter showed a copy of the India Globe story to other correspondents at the daily briefing.
The report said that Begum Sehba Musharraf visited Washington and New York in mid-November and, with the help of "U.S. officials," went house-hunting. The newspaper quoted Indian intelligence officials as its source.
The Pakistani newspaper, Dawn, asked the White House about the rumor last week. White House spokesman Air Fleischer said he knew nothing about it.
Mr. Hayauddin said Mrs. Musharraf accompanied her husband on a trip to the United Nations in New York but never left the city.
Except for official functions, "they never left the hotel," he told Embassy Row.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]ontimes.com.

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