- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

Poland, a faithful U.S. ally in the war on Iraq, emphasized yesterday the need to rebuild America’s damaged trans-Atlantic relations with Germany, France and Russia.Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, in Washington on an official visit, called for the allies to overcome their bitterness.France campaigned against Washington’s call for a U.N. resolution to allow swift action against Iraq, while Germany and Russia made it clear they did not agree with the United States moving ahead without the resolution.”I understand the criticism and irritation [the United States] has, especially with the French position in Iraq,” Mr. Cimoszewicz said in an interview. But he said France, Germany and Russia are “important states, big players on the international scene, so it is always better to look for some kind of agreement than continued differences and rifts.”“Let’s not react emotionally, even if is reasonable in a human sense,” he said.Mr. Cimoszewicz said he expected the United Nations to pass a resolution with a few weeks determining the role of the world body in the reconstruction of Iraq.”We believe it will be good to have a U.N. resolution to avoid further controversies between different states on the role of the United Nations in international politics,” he said.An active partner in the United States’ coalition of the willing against Iraq, Poland is now set to command troops as part of a multinational stabilization force being organized to fan out in Iraq.But he emphasized that the question of having German troops under Polish command had not arisen in his talks with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other administration officials.Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski had said Sunday that Poland supported using a Polish-German-Danish force already in existence under NATO for the job in Iraq.”We are interested in having many partners” participating in the stabilization force, said Mr. Cimoszewicz, declining to name any of them. The multinational force led by the United States, Britain and Poland is expected to be in place within the next month, he said.Talks are under way in the Defense Department as to how best to deploy the forces, divided among either three or four sectors. Mr. Cimoszewicz said one military division would be needed per sector, totaling 28,000 to 40,000 troops in all.

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