Welcoming Remarks
Defense Minister of Poland Stanislaw Dobrzanski

It was a pleasure for me to act as host of the Thirteenth NATO Workshop. It is significant that the Workshop took place in a country that is not a member of NATO but is a candidate for membership. Both personally and on behalf of the other representatives of Poland's Ministry of National Defense, I would like to thank all the Workshop participants for coming to Warsaw and for giving us an opportunity to meet such a group of eminent leaders.

The NATO Workshop is an undertaking of international importance. This year's Workshop is particularly important because it was held at a time when NATO countries are about to make decisions concerning the admission of new members to the Alliance. These decisions will be followed with great interest, particularly by countries aspiring to membership. We therefore appreciate the opportunity this Workshop has given us to discuss various aspects of the international, economic, and technical conditions involved in the opening up of NATO.

We are very honored that Poland has been entrusted with the hosting of the NATO conference. We take this as a sign of confidence in and appreciation of Poland's foreign policy, as a recognition of our participation in international activities, and an acknowledgment of our organizational abilities. Poland was among the first Partner states to present a Partnership for Peace (PFP) Framework Document and an Individual Partnership Program. We were also the first to organize a multinational exercise under the PFP program, and since that time have taken part in more than 20 such exercises. Through Partnership for Peace we have been able to ready our armed forces for cooperation with NATO armies, and have done so with our battalion that is part of the IFOR Nordic-Polish brigade in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The fact that the North Atlantic Alliance decided to hold the XIIIth Workshop in a non-member country is seen by us as a recognition of the efforts being made by all the candidate countries. The Workshop has also given Poland the opportunity to prove that we continue to strive for our strategic foreign policy goal--integration with European and Euro-Atlantic security structures. It is also allowing us to show that we are capable of fulfilling the tasks that are required of Alliance members. Let us work toward the successful implementation of NATO's enlargement plans and toward further stabilization and strengthening of security in Europe and in the world.

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