Throughout the 20th century Europe failed twice--after the first and second World Wars--to arrange for a durable peace and the development of equitable opportunities for all nations on the continent. Now, with the end of this century and the end of the Cold War, we have been given a third historic chance to build democratic and effective international structures able to develop international relations in adherence with certain fundamental principles: undiminished security for all nations; cooperation, confidence, and openness; dispute resolution by peaceful means; allegiance to arms control and other security building measures; respect for international law and human rights.
This chance to build a new comprehensive European security system arrived in 1990 when NATO extended a "friendly hand" to all then Warsaw Pact countries as a demonstration of the Alliance's good will and peaceful intentions. In the ensuing process the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and Partnership for Peace were launched, and intensive dialogue and cooperation began to take place between former opponents, members of the two alliances, including all post-Soviet republics.
The political, social and economic reforms which are underway in our region are the final stage of the post-Second World War arrangements on the continent; they are the ultimate fulfillment of the Yalta agreement to conduct free and fair elections in the states of the region--which the totalitarian system had denied them until recently. Thus, the division of Europe has been overcome. At last we have a chance to accomplish the Marshall Plan in the eastern half of the continent that was unable to benefit from it when it was originally proposed. If the generosity of the Plan, which created the foundations for Western Europe's prosperity and stability and for NATO's strength, can be emulated today by its post-war recipients, the prosperity of the entire continent will be assured.
Within the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, Poland aims to stay at the forefront of democratic changes and reforms leading to integration with NATO, the WEU and the European Union. Militarily, our country is fully engaged in the process of preparing and implementing the IPP and PARP programs, and conducting joint military exercises. We are participating in the NATO mission in Bosnia (IFOR) and will soon decide upon a National Plan of Integration with NATO.
I believe that the NATO Workshop in Warsaw was a stepping stone in our efforts on the path to the Alliance and a chance to "get NATO closer to our homes." It helped us develop a psychological link between the Polish people, the family of the 16 NATO members and that of the NATO Partners present in Warsaw. These links are a basis for friendship, mutual trust and understanding. The Workshop corroborated common values among Partners and Members. It improved understanding about the importance of the full engagement of Russia and Ukraine in the efforts to build a common European security system. The Workshop show the value of PFP and the indispensability of its continuation and development, especially after the first decisions on admitting new members of the Alliance are taken. The Warsaw discussions showed that the Alliance is well and sound, that it is able to confront new challenges and opportunities and work together with all willing nations to safeguard stability and peace on the European continent.
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