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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 3, 1996


President Clinton's Meeting with Lech Walesa

President Clinton met today at the White House with former President of Poland Lech Walesa. President Clinton expressed his admiration for Lech Walesa's historic role, as leader of Solidarity and as President, in advancing Poland's dramatic economic and democratic transformation since 1989. The President observed that the restoration of Central Europe's sovereignty and the end of the Cold War itself owed a great deal to the efforts of Lech Walesa and the Polish people who had struggled for democracy and freedom so long and ultimately so successfully.

President Clinton and former President Walesa discussed Poland's impressive achievements since 1989 in establishing the fundamentals of a democratic system and productive free market economy. They expressed the hope and belief that this process will continue.

Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the integration of Poland and Europe's other emerging democracies with the Transatlantic community and its institutions. They noted that Poland plays a very active role in the Partnership for Peace and the OSCE, and may well join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) this year. The two leaders underscored that NATO's enlargement constitutes a key element of Europe's integration and will increase security for Europe as a whole. Noting the considerable progress made since they first discussed the issue in 1993, they expressed satisfaction that NATO enlargement remains on track and will take place in a steady, deliberate and determined manner, threatening no one.

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