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Address by the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, at the closing of the deliberations of the Council of Europe Summit in Warsaw

(17 May 2005)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Third Summit of the Council of Europe is drawing to a close. We feel honoured to have hosted this event and to have had so many outstanding European leaders and politicians as our guests here.

Barely a week ago, celebrations were held in many countries across the continent to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. We are a nation for which these celebrations had a very special meaning, to which the cataclysm of war brought enormous destruction and suffering. Poland was also among those countries painfully affected by the consequences of the post-war order. That is why we are so deeply committed to building a conflict-free Europe, a Europe being an area of cooperative partnership and mutual confidence.

I believe I am now voicing an opinion of the participants of the Summit by saying that it opens up a new prospect for peaceful cooperation in Europe for many years to come. For the Council of Europe Political Declaration and Action Plan that we have adopted set specific tasks to be carried out. The Council of Europe Secretary General spoke about them in his address. The leaders of all Member States gathered at this forum have declared the implementation of the Summit’s decisions in their respective countries. We have also agreed to promote the objectives that have been set in the arena of the other international organisations that we are members of. If we show enough consistency and perseverance in action, then it will certainly be legitimate to say that the Third Summit has significantly contributed to deepening European integration.

The thing to be pleased about the most is, perhaps, that while discussing today’s architecture of our continent we no longer invoke the military power of individual countries, the way our forefathers used to do in the past centuries, viewing instead a country’s attitude towards values as the principal consideration. Towards those very values and principles we have said so much about in our addresses. It is those values and principles that map out the direction of Europe’s evolution today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As it was mentioned in many speeches during this Summit, we are especially concerned about the situation in Belarus. Notorious violations of all the basic democratic principles and human rights in Belarus are unacceptable. The Belarusian people have for centuries been part of European civilisation, making an important contribution to it in cultural terms, and they fully deserve to live in freedom, democracy and justice. We are looking forward to the moment when it will join the family of Council of Europe Member States, so that we may work together to translate the European values into practice.

From this place, I would like to address all those citizens of Europe who cannot yet fully enjoy their rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. I want to convey to them words of hope and solidarity. The democratisation of life on our continent is an irreversible process. I am convinced that it will keep spreading far and wide.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A powerful message is flowing from Warsaw today: that the Council of Europe is a truly pan-European organisation. An institution which stands as a safeguard that Europe will be building its identity in the spirit of dialogue, tolerance, respect for individual rights and human solidarity. That we will be guided by these principles both in our own countries and in relations with other states.

I thank all participants for their creative contributions to the Summit’s outcome. Today our most important task is to reach with our message the conciseness of our societies. Only then we will able to declare the full success of our Summit.

I express my gratitude to all the Council of Europe agencies and the organisers for the effort of preparing it. I thank all the technical staff, translators, security officers and all other whom we owe the flawless organization of this gathering. I also thank the media for reporting on our debates; it is my belief that the achievements of this event will be widely disseminated.

I declare the Third Summit of the Council of Europe closed.