Leaders of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia join forces to work out solutions to the Georgian problem. They have gone to Georgia to support the efforts of the European Union and NATO

Poland Radio
Joanna Najfeld
August 8, 2008

According to some sources, Poland’s Lech Kaczynski has the unofficial leading role in the initiative. Just before he departed to Georgia, Polish president gave a decisive statement about the mission he has undertaken: ‘This means solidarity of five states with a nation which has fallen prey to aggression. Aggression that is nothing new in history. We can say that once again the Russian state has revealed its face – the real one. We are deeply sorry about that but we have to accept it as a fact,’ said Polish President Lech Kaczy?ski.

Last night president George Bush telephoned Polish President Lech Kaczynski to discuss the situation in the Caucasus. Reportedly, Bush informed Kaczynski about his talks with the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin, and the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s talks with head of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry Sergey Lavrov.

In exchange, Lech Kaczynski told George Bush about Poland’s moves and the planned joined visit of leaders of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Georgia. President Bush considered that mission very important, said W?adys?aw Stasiak, head of the Polish National Security Bureau: ‘President George Bush telephoned President Lech Kaczynski to express his full support to this mission, he considered it very important for peace, for stabilization in the region and for the defense of Georgia’s independence and integrity. Both Presidents worked out a way to coordinate their efforts.’

In his first speech following Bush’s arrival to Beijing, the US President condemned the Russian military operation in Georgia, which may be an attempt to overturn a democratic government. ‘It now appears that an effort may be underway to depose (Georgia’s) duly elected government. Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century,’ said the US President.

Bush called on Moscow to accept the peace plan prepared by the United States, EU and OSCE, that is withdraw all troops from the Georgian territory and come back to the status quo from before the 6th of August. President Bush stressed that the Russian aggression does a serious damage to the position of Moscow on the international arena and especially Russia’s relations with Europe and the United States. He also warned that Moscow may be planning to invade the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

Meanwhile, rallies supporting Georgia are held in many places in Poland. In front of the Russian embassy in Warsaw, the “Solidarity with Georgia” initiative organizes regular protests every day. Members of the Georgian minority are joined by ordinary Polish citizens and occasional celebrities who come to express their protest against Russia’s aggression on Georgia.

Georgians talk about how grateful they are to Poland for its determination to help their country. ‘In the whole of Europe, there is no other country which acts like your President, Prime Minister, government, senators, parliamentarians and all the ordinary citizens,’ said one Georgian man. ‘My country is bleeding. Before the eyes of the whole world Russia has openly attacked Georgia. I think it’s a reason to meet here,’ added another Georgian.

Dagmara is from Poland but she has spent the past seven months doing voluntary work in Georgia. She feels she just had to come to the rally. ‘I came back from Georgia today, with the Polish group of evacuees and I fell an obligation to be here in solidarity with Georgian people,’ she said.

Well-known Polish journalist and artist Jan Pospieszalski also appeared at the pro-Georgian rally Monday. ‘I don’t want to feel helpless when they are killing innocent people, shooting at civilians, bombarding homes and cities, when tanks are approaching Tbilisi. I don’t want to feel helpless and idle when I hear extreme hypocrisy from Cremlin’s politicians, when I can sense the fear of European politicians, when I see indecisiveness among European elites,’ he said.

For Pospieszalski too, supporting Georgia is an obligation of all the people of good will. ‘We should be the conscience of Europe, we should exert pressure from all sides – diplomatic and moral pressure. The public opinion should act to force the circles of European politicians and people who can do something, to take action, not just give empty declarations,’ he said.