President Bush to visit Hel

5 06 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza Trójmiasto
Authors: Krzysztof Katka, Michał Tusk
Translation: MoPoPressReview

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Protests and extra security measures will accompany president of The United States of America in his visit in Hel. George W. Bush will talk with president Lech Kaczyński abouts the plans to situate elements of missile defence system in Poland.

American president will arrive in Gdansk from the German town of Rostock. After the press conference on Lech Walesa Airport, he will go to Hel, located on the tip of the Hel peninsula, some 33 kilometres from the Polish mainland. Mr and Mrs Bush will spend three hours at the Polish coast, while two thousand police officers and hundreds of other officers will guard their safety. These will include Government Security Services, Border Guard, National Guard, the Navy and at least several hundred American agents. For the last week American embassy employees and their guests have taken the Hotel Nadmorski in Gdynia for their exclusive use, and it has been turned into the operational centre for the visit organisers. The area around the Hotel has been closed.

President Bush will fly to the town of Hel by the Marine One, which is the helicopter version of the Air Force One airplane. Two of these helicopters are already on standby at the Gdansk Airport. For the last few days the traffic above the city has been increased. The servicing equipment for president’s plane has already been shipped. (…)

It is president Bush’s third visit to Poland. His father has visited Poland during his presidency in 1989 to meet Lech Walesa. “Dziennik” daily, citing unofficial information, wrote that although the guests requested to include a meeting with Lech Walesa, the Polish president’s office did not agree for it. Nor Polish government nor American administration would confirm that such request had been made.

Mr Walesa himself told us on Tuesday, that he heard about such requests. – ‘There have been signals, and then I found out that the Polish president’s office did not approve. However I will be home on Friday, should American president desire to meet me, I am ready’ – said Walesa.

This isn’t the only diplomatic trouble. The mayor of Hel Miroslaw Wadolowski will write a letter to the White House, which in its press release misinformed the public, that President Bush will visit neighbouring Jurata, instead of his commune.

‘They should know where they send their president’ – says Wadolowski outraged. ‘I suspect that they have been misinformed themselves by our president’s office, which constantly claims that the president’s residence is in Jurata, although I have sent them several letters on that matter’.

Antiglobalists announced they will protest during the president’s visit near the residence. They plan to bring signs saying “Welcome to hell” in English. – ‘Over a hundred, maybe even 500 antiwar activists will manifest outside the residence’ – declared Filip Ilkowski from Inicjatywa Stop Wojnie (No Wars Initiative). – ‘We want to demonstrate peacefully against the situating of antimissile defence system, however if there will be any difficulties, then all sorts of things can happen’.

‘We are ready for antiglobalists’ manifestations, and we hope it will be peaceful – said Jan Kosciuk, spokesman for the Pomeranian Police. – ‘Should public order be disturbed, our reaction will be firm’.

The police in Tricity metropolis are advising drivers not to use their cars on Friday after midday. Privileged vehicles columns driving through the city, will cause many road closures. Drivers in Hel and Rebiechow will be most affected.

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