the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Fact Sheet: The United States and Poland -- An Alliance and Partnership for the 21st Century

President Barack Obama, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced several new initiatives to strengthen the U.S.-Polish alliance and partnership, which is dedicated to ensuring a more prosperous and secure future for our two nations.  The leaders agreed on joint action in the following areas:

Deepening Security Cooperation.  U.S.-Polish security is rooted in NATO, our shared values, and joint efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere, where our soldiers serve bravely side-by-side.

  • Aviation Detachment.  The United States and Poland concluded a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish in 2012 a U.S. Aviation Detachment in Poland, which will facilitate regular rotations of U.S. military aircraft to Poland to train with the Polish air force beginning in early 2013.   The Aviation Detachment will improve our already excellent bilateral defense cooperation and our armed forces’ ability to operate together as NATO allies.
  • Defense Trade.  The United States and Poland concluded a Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement, which will reduce barriers to defense trade and facilitate defense cooperation.

Expanding Clean Energy and Economic Cooperation.  The United States and Poland are partners in building a future based on clean and secure energy.  We reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen economic ties between the world’s largest economy and one of Europe’s fastest growing and are taking the following steps to further that aim:

  • Strategic Dialogue on Clean Energy.  President Obama and Prime Minister Tusk agreed to convene a special session of the Polish-U.S. Strategic Dialogue to promote our comprehensive efforts to develop new clean and sustainable energy sources, including wind, clean coal, unconventional sources of gas (such as shale gas), and nuclear power.
  • U.S.-Polish Business Summit.  Our two governments announced the convening of a high-level U.S.-Poland Business Roundtable, which will bring together our private sectors and top government officials to identify and promote new commercial opportunities between the two countries. 

Enhancing People-to-People Contacts.  President Obama and President Komorowski agreed to strengthen the deep ties that have connected the people of the United States and Poland for more than two centuries.

  • Travel to the United States.  President Obama has endorsed legislation co-sponsored by several members of Congress that would reform how countries qualify for the visa waiver program to ensure that strong Allies like Poland get proper consideration.  This legislation requires that aspirants to the visa waiver program commit to enhanced counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States.
  • Counterterrorism and Law Enforcement Cooperation.  Our governments have just completed negotiating an important agreement on the reciprocal exchange of information on known or suspected terrorists.  We have also begun negotiating a second agreement on preventing and combating serious crime, which will further strengthen law enforcement cooperation between our two countries.   Both sides are committed to completing this second agreement as soon as possible.  The two agreements are requirements for admission into the visa waiver program. 
  • Youth Exchange.  The United States and Poland announced the expansion and joint funding of the U.S.-Poland Parliamentary Youth Exchange Program to bring American and Polish high school students to our respective countries.

Support for Democracy and Human Rights Around the World.   The United States and Poland share a deep commitment to promoting democracy, a commitment that is a key pillar of our partnership in the 21st century.  In a meeting with Polish democracy activists and political leaders, President Obama welcomed the following actions:

  • Tunisia Joint Mentorship Initiative.  Noting the recent successful trip to Tunisia by a Polish delegation led by former President Walesa, the United States and Poland announced a plan to send Polish democracy activists and transition experts to Tunisia to work with new government and civil society on institution-building.
  • Supporting Democracy in Belarus.   Our governments condemned the actions taken by Lukashenka and those responsible for the crackdown in Belarus.  The United States and Poland announced joint efforts to support civil society, including expansion of Kirkland and Kalinowski Scholarships, BelSat television programming, and collaboration through Poland’s new International Solidarity Foundation.