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Poland’s President:
Patriot Deal A Historic Moment

(March 28, 2018) It is a unique and historic moment that ushers Poland into a new world of ultra-modern technology and weaponry, Polish President Andrzej Duda said of the Poland-US Patriot air and missile defence system deal signed on Wednesday. The value of the deal is USD 4.75 billion.

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed a contract for the purchase of US Patriot air and missile defence systems as part of the Polish Wisla (Vistula) air defence programme. Present at the signing ceremony were President Andrzej Duda, PM Mateusz Morawiecki, National Security Bureau head Pawel Soloch, government officials and army commanders.

“Today we start equipping Poland with the most modern defence system (…) in the world, and what is most important, one that has been tested many times,” Andrzej Duda stressed.

“It’s a huge step forward for the whole Polish armed forces when we speak of building a modern and well-equipped army (…),” the President said. “What we are saying is that we will equip it with such weaponry,” Andrzej Duda stressed.

Patriot batteries and other elements of Poland’s defence will create “a protective shield against an air assault of any kind,” he added.

The Polish President said that the cost of the US Patriot air and missile defence systems is huge, but “we know that security has no price.”

“This is a lot of money, but we know, also from our historical experience, that security has no price. Let me express my gratitude to the negotiating team, Minister Blaszczak and former Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz,” the President said.

The Patriot system is to constitute the basis of Poland’s air defence for decades, the President said. “We enter the ranks of the elite states that own it,” he declared.”

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Andrzej Duda commented on his meeting with US President Donald Trump. “Being aware of the how expensive this purchase may be, I told the president that we need a good price and the right conditions to carry it out,” he reported, adding that Trump had assured him it would be possible to negotiate good conditions. “And we’ve managed to do it,” he concluded. (PAP)

Address by the President of the Republic of Poland
at the signing ceremony of the Patriot supply contract

Honourable Prime Minister,

Honourable Minister,

Honourable Ministers,

Excellencies, Ambassadors,

Dear Generals,

Madame Secretary,

Officers,

Men and Women in Uniforms,

All our Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen!

This is a unique moment, I daresay a historic moment. By signing the deal, a moment ago the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Mariusz Błaszczak, has ushered the Polish armed forces, but even more broadly: has ushered us, the Republic of Poland, into an entirely new world; the word of truly ultra-modern technology, the world of modern weaponry and, importantly, of modern defences.

Today, we are launching the process of equipping Poland in the state-of-the-art missile defence system: the most advanced medium-range missile defence that is available world-wide. What is most important is that on many occasions, the system has stood the test in the countries where it is deployed. You might have heard that Patriot missiles protect Israel, protect other locations in the world which suffer from armed conflicts. The system has always proved effective. Even if some may say:” Well, in some locations a single missile has sneaked in and has engaged the target…” Ladies and Gentlemen, there are no systems available which would us a 100-percent interception guarantee. However, if a system is capable to intercept 80 up to 90 percent of a potential missile strike or any other assault from the air, it must be clearly described as an exceptionally effective one. And this is precisely the case with Patriot, additionally integrated with the IBCS command system, it is an unquestionably ultra-modern system.

It is expensive; indeed, it is. But as the Polish saying goes: whatever comes cheap, will prove expensive; whatever comes expensive, will be operational and solid, to function for many years to come. And this is precisely the case with this system: it is meant to underpin Poland’s missile defence for decades to come. Obviously, with the lapse of time, it will need to be updated, which is only natural. But the most crucial point is to have it launched, so that we join the elite of the nations who have Patriot-based missile defence in place. And we are joining this family right now. This is an entirely new chapter in the history of Poland, and in particular, an entirely new chapter in the history of the Polish armed forces.

The system might be wrongly dismissed as a one which benefits only air defence: it is not true. For the armed forces in general this is a massive step forward. If we speak about building a modern, well-equipped army and about the modernisation of the Polish armed forces as a whole, what we mean by that is that we are going to supply them with such weaponry, such systems: modern and compatible with the ones operated by our Allies from the North Atlantic Alliance, and also operated by the United States Armed Forces.

I heartily welcome this development. We are building a comprehensive multi-layered complex air and missile defence system in the country. As rightly pointed out by the Minister of Defence, it is more than the Vistula Defence programme and the Narew programme, it is an overarching ballistic missile defence system which is right now delivered by the US Army in Redzikowo. All of those added together make up a protective shield able to fend off a variety of air assaults. I am delighted to see Poland gaining this protective shield. This is the first stage. Upon its completion, we will proceed with next ones.

As I was saying, enormous money is involved. But we will all appreciate, also bearing in mind our historical experience, that security has no price. Last summer, during President Donald Trump’s visit to Warsaw, I was also raising the subject of this deal which has been finalised today.

What I said back then was: “Mr President, by all means, we want to procure that system, it matters great deal to us; we are looking at that system in particular, but also at other offers of American weaponry. This system we want to have in place as a first step, to underpin all our future cooperation. To this end, we will need a decent price offer, we are a country which is still developing, so many needs arise, so much expenditure must be incurred. This must be a sum of money which is affordable. We realise that security is priceless, but we need to operate within our budget, we need to meet our conditions. Please, come up with an affordable price.”

And this is the price that we have managed to negotiate. My warm thanks go to the negotiating team, to the Minister of Defence, for the last stage of negotiations was closed under his stewardship; but I also thank the former Minister of Defence, Mr Antoni Maciarewicz. He embarked on this extremely ambitious task of procuring this particular system, paired with the IBCS command system. A challenging task is in store for us and I am confident we will manage to accomplish it; through a concerted effort and smooth cooperation we will make it.

Let me reiterate: I am extremely pleased about the signing of the contract between the Polish and the US Government. I am happy to see us entering a completely new era of defence: truly this is the 21st century, if not the 22nd.

Thank you.

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