Polish President told a small groups of reporters on March 17, 04 that he feels misled by not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to. He also said that Poland might try withdrawing its troops from Iraq early next year instead of previously stated date of mid-1005.
What might lead to the sudden change of the course in Polish politics? Aleksander Kwasniewski - Polish president, is known as a good diplomat. To explain it - we will present the development in the Polish-Americans relations during the last couple of months.
The relationship between Poland and the USA is changing as quickly as the international situation does. Read about Poland versus the USA.
Poland was one of the best ally of the USA in the war of terror. Poland -- a member of NATO since 1999, contributed troops to U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. Poles have 2,400 soldiers in Iraq. Poland is in command of one of the military zone there - besides the USA and Great Britain only - read more about Polish Military zone in Iraq . Polish position on Iraq puts in odds the relationship with the France and Germany in the same time when Poland is trying to access European Union.
At the end of January when Poland was still a staunch American ally in Iraq Polish president, Aleksander Kwasniewski, visited pres. GW.Bush in the White House. Maybe the timing was bad or the requests of Polish president out of place - but no any Polish request was approved by the American administration. President Kwasniewski came to Poland without any positive news. His support among Polish public opinion was sagging immediately.
Pres. Kwasniewski had three requests:
The first one was to treat Polish citizens the same way as the citizens of Western European countries - which do not need to go through the humiliating procedure of fingerprints and photographs in the face of new anti-terror restrictions. The truth is that Poland does not have a network of terrorists like some Western European countries do (Germany, France, Spain or Italy or even Bulgaria). This was definitively the easiest request to be granted by American administration.
The second request was about abolishing the requirements of visas for Polish citizens. Poles are not only required to have a visa before entering the USA but the requirements for Poles are quite strict and only 50% of even less applications are granted visas. The applicants needs to spend in line several hours or even days in front of the USA embassy or consulates before being able to talk to the foreign service officer. The payments for visas are pretty high (100 USD) especially compared to Polish salaries but nobody get reimbursed - even these with rejected applications. Moreover, if the application is rejected a person needs to wait two years before applying again.
Bush told Kwasniewski the rules for visas were decided by Congress, but a study group had been formed to work with Polish authorities on the matter to make a process of applying for visa easier.