New Zealand Embassy Warsaw, Poland
Poland - 25 Years of Freedom!
On 4 June, Poland celebrated the 25th anniversary of its first free elections, the highlight of which was a tough speech by US President Obama.
Among those attending the official commemoration ceremony were delegations lead by kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers from more than 30 countries. Members of the diplomatic corps were lucky to be given a bird’s eye view of proceedings.
Poland’s President Bronisław Komorowski and President Obama both spoke of the great historical significance of the events of 4 June 1989 and of the current situation in the region. Both speeches also referred to the Russian annexation of Crimea and the situation in Ukraine and declared their full support for the democratic change process underway in Ukraine. They congratulated Ukrainian President-elect Poroshenko on his election, and stated that peace in the region was a top priority. An emotional Poroshenko embraced Obama after the speeches.
Poland has achieved much in the past 25 years and is now a key player in the EU and in wider region, often acting a bridge between east and west. It’s foreign minister Radek Sikorski (who visited New Zealand last year) is an active and vocal supporter of emerging democracies in the region and elsewhere.