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Poland must modernise defence systems, says President Komorowski

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 16.08.2012 07:44
Poland must continue to modernise its armed forces including building an independent air defence system, President Komorowski said during celebrations of Armed Forces Day on Wednesday.

photo - PAP/Leszek Szymanski

“The armed forces need further modernization, and primarily [we need] to build our own air defence system, which will enhance the NATO system,” Bronislaw Komorowski said during a ceremony which took place at midday at Pilsudski Square, by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the centre of Warsaw.

Though US President Barack Obama said on taking office four years ago that Poland would be included in a new mobile missile defence system, with hardware in place by 2018, the Polish government announced last month that it is to build its own independent anti-ballistic missile system with the help of European allies such as Germany and France.

Komorowski added that following the professionalization of the armed forces and the end of conscription, a shortage of troops had been noted and must be reversed.

“The Polish army has been gradually reducing in size: the number of fighters has dropped while the number of leaders has been left untouched. Now that proportion has to change – we need more fighters and fewer commanders,” Komorowski said.

Poland's head of state promised that Poland would stick to the 2014 timetable for withdrawal in Afghanistan, where the country currently has 2,500 troops stationed.

Komorowski also said that though the government was currently trying to cut government debt, expenditure on Poland's armed forces would not be affected.

Earlier in the day, President Komorowski took part in a special mass for the armed forces at Warsaw's Church of Our Lady Queen of the Polish Crown, the field cathedral of the Polish Army.

Komorowski then led a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, where five colonels promoted to the rank of general.

Four other officers who had already attained the rank of general also received promotions

Armed Forces Day, a national holiday, is marked every year on 15 August in remembrance of when a newly independent Poland fought back the Soviet Red Army in the so-called 1920 'Miracle on the Vistula'. (pg/di)

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