- The Washington Times - Friday, November 23, 2001

A test for friends

The terrorist attacks on the United States "shook the foundations of the world," the Polish ambassador said, as he expressed the shock Poles felt on September 11.

Ambassador Przemyslaw Grudzinski, writing in the latest edition of the Polish Embassy newsletter, noted that Poles in Warsaw gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in a candlelight ceremony on the evening of the attacks.

"Polish streets and churches were crowded with people who wanted to honor the victims, to pray for them," he wrote.

Polish television observed a moment of silence. Flags were flown at half-staff. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek and the Parliament all expressed their grief.

"At the Polish Embassy in Washington, we met with our American friends and representatives of the Polish-American community for a special event to pay tribute to all victims," Mr. Grudzinski wrote.

"This tragedy touched every one of us deeply. It is as if we all have lost someone close."

The ambassador said Polish diplomats asked themselves how they could help, and then answered their own question.

"We can help by being united, by showing solidarity with the great American nation, by being at the side of our friends in the time of trial. Isn't this really how true friends are tested?" Mr. Grudzinski wrote.

"This tragedy, though it may have struck New York and Washington, has dealt a blow close to each and every one of us, to all those who share the common values of democracy and peace.

"We Poles know how these values must be cherished and that they do not come easy."

Mr. Grudzinski said the attacks on September 11 "shook the foundations of the world."

He added, "We have come to experience evil in its most cruel form with no face, no name but with a mission to take away from mankind our most precious of all achievements peaceful and brotherly coexistence, happiness and freedom and the deep belief that the horrors of the past can never be repeated."

Russia's Jews

President Bush has taken a moment from reassuring Muslims that the war on terrorism is not a war against Islam to express his concern about religious rights for Russian Jews.

Mr. Bush has written the National Council on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) to report on his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I know the American-Jewish community maintains a great and continuing interest in the human rights situation in Russia, particularly as it affects Russian Jews. So does my administration," Mr. Bush said in his letter, released this week by the NCSJ.

Mr. Putin insisted he will take "concrete action to promote our common interest in core human rights and basic freedom," Mr. Bush wrote.

"He stated that anti-Semitism has no place in a modern Russia. My administration is fully committed to work with Russia to bring about progress in human rights, including safeguarding religious liberty."

Canadian cooperation

Canada and the United States plan to develop closer military cooperation following a Washington visit by Canadian Defense Minister Art Eggleton.

"We certainly should do a little updating in view of post-September 11 and particularly how we would relate to them in terms of the defense of the continent and how they would relate to us," Mr. Eggleton told Canadian reporters this week.

He met Tuesday with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to discuss homeland security, the common defense of North America and the numerous military agreements existing between the two countries.

Among those agreements, Canada and the United States share command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which, among other duties, directs fighter jets on patrol over both countries.

However, Mr. Eggleton said there are no plans for similar joint command of land forces.

Mr. Eggleton and Mr. Rumsfeld did discuss closer cooperation and "certainly working together."

They reached "a complete understanding of what's necessary in terms of defense of our respective countries within a continental context," Mr. Eggleton said.

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