Poland celebrates 15 years in NATO
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish president, defence minister and generals attended a ceremony in Warsaw on Wednesday night in celebration of the 15th anniversary of Poland joining NATO.
NATO anniversary celebrations in Piłsudski Square, 12 March, Warsaw: photo - PAP/Radek Pietruszka
"When we joined I thought 'we are safe'"," President Bronislaw Komorowski said about 12 March 1999 when former communist states Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary joined the western alliance.
"It's hard to imagine stronger guarantees of our security than membership of NATO and the EU," Komorowski added, saying that during times of radical transformations in a country which had brought down communist rule in 1989, joining NATO made it easier to to become part of the European Union five years later in 2004.
President Bronislaw Komorowski with former president Aleksander Kwasniewski: photo - Radek Pietruszka/PAP
"That strategy brought us success: we are now in NATO and the EU," he said.
Present at the ceremony in Pilsudski Square in the heart of Warsaw were defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak, president of Poland at the time of joining the alliance, Aleksander Kwasniewski, defence attaches of NATO member states and Poland's top generals. (pg)