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Obama - US ‘working’ on visa-waiver programme for Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 28.05.2011 12:56
President Obama said after talks with President Komorowski this morning that the United States “was working” on ending the need to obtain visas before travelling to America.

Presidents Obama and Komorowski after talks in Warsaw. photo - PAP

“We talked about how we can regulate the visa process between our two countries. I wanted to say that the United States is working on this issue,” President Barack Obama said after talks with his Polish counterpart at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

Earlier a Polish diplomat told the Reuters news agency off the record that, "President Obama will propose a change in their regulations that allow a country to enter the Visa Waiver Program on the basis of overstays rather than refusals [of visas]. This would be beneficial for us."

Obama is ending his European tour with a two-day visit to Poland.

President Obama said that Poland was included as one of only four nations on his week-long trip to Europe so that he could, "thank the Polish people for their friendship and ensure that there are millions of Americans who understand that Poland is one of our closest and strongest allies.”

Obama said that Poland’s unique experience of democratic change can be of great help to those countries still struggling to fulfil their democratic promise.

“It is important to encourage Belarus to build a democratic society,” Obama said, referring to the recent crackdown on and imprisonment of opposition leaders by the Lukashenko regime. The US president said that it was in the interests of the whole region to bring about stability in Belarus and that the US would be working with the EU to fulfil this goal.

“We look forward to when Poland takes over the [six-month presidency] of the European Union,” Obama said. "A strong, united Europe is in the political and economic interests of the United States," he told journalists.

President Komorowski said after the 45 minute talks with Barack Obama that he is pleased to note that decisions made at the NATO summit in Lisbon last year, "have been fully reflected in the political action of the United States and NATO as a whole. I am thinking, above all, of the prospect of building an anti-missile defence system [in Europe] with the possible cooperation of Russia…”

Obama agreed, saying that the two leaders “discussed deeply our relationship with Russia. I'm proud that we have started a process that helps to stabilize relations between the United States and Russia.”

President Komorowski said that there was an “absolute convergence of views” on the civil rights situation in Belarus.

After his meeting with President Komorowski, Obama went on to meet with political leaders in Poland and then to have talks with Prime Minister Donald Tusk. (pg)

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