WARSZAWA (Warsaw)...

...Castle Square

...the Royal Castle

...the Presidential Palace

...Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

...Mikolaj Kopernik (Copernicus)

...Warsaw Uprising Memorial

...Nowy Swiat


...Lazienki - Palace on the lake

...King Jan III Sobieski

...Execution Gate, The Cidatel

...Underground State Memorial

...Friends at Warsaw Zoo

...Old Town Square

...Adam Mickiewicz

...Saxon Gardens

...Warsaw park

...Haller's "Blue" Army

...Pavillion X, Cidatel

...Old Town Square

...Jozef Pilsudski

...Polish aid to the Jews

...New Town Square

...Teatr Wielki

...Ghetto Uprising Memorial

...Battle of Monte Cassino

...View from Fukier's Restaurant

...Young insurgents

...those who suffered in the East

...Chopin's Birthplace

...Underground State Memorial

...the Old Town Square

...let's meet in Warsaw


on the eve of the new millennium

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen.

The New Year is coming in a few hours. I am meeting you on the New Year's Eve for the fifth time running. But it is for the first time ever that we meet at such an exceptional moment - the threshold of the symbolic year 2000.

Such an occasion occurs once in two thousand years. We have the right to feel distinguished. All of us hail from under the banner of a calendar which has been measuring time since the birth of Christ. This calendar unites our civilisation.

The last day of a year is always special. This year around some people speak of magic. With emotion we look back not only on the past twelve months, but on all past years making up our, our parents and our children's lives. Everyone makes today a balance sheet of successes and failures in the face of the immense magnitude of time.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Round anniversaries are good occasions to arrest reality as in a freeze frame, to reflect upon and compare.

Poland's history of the 20th century was written in various colours. Yet we were able to unite around the most important matters, to win and build up. Yes, we happened to submerge in disputes. Sometimes we could not surmount fates, because history dealt us the worse of cards.

One hundred years ago, in 1900, there was no Poland on the political map of Europe. The borders of three partitions ran then right through the middle of the country.

Fifty years ago, Poland was deprived of full sovereignty in Yalta, and was slowly rising from ruins. In the most tragic of wars, millions of Poles lost their lives. It was over here that the Nazis committed the unprecedented crime of exterminating the Jewish people. In the great post-war migration of nations, millions of people left their homeland in the Eastern Borderland to create anew their small fatherlands on the Western Territories.

Twenty years back, in 1980, Poles raised their heads and straightened their arms animated by the idea of the first "Solidarnosc”, gathering people from various walks of life, various religions and of various biographies. Ten years ago, owing to the historical accords of the "Round Table" and the elections of June 1989, people regained hope. The great political and social change followed.

It is seen at the threshold of 2000 that hope, tenacity and wisdom prevailed over the dramas and helplessness of our history of the twentieth century. Now, we are building a free, safe, democratic, stable and modern Poland, developing economically and caring for its citizens.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

The just-ending year was extremely important for Poland. We were admitted to NATO, thus finding ourselves among the best protected states of the world. We are closer to another grand national objective - accession to the European Union.

We went through the emotional moments during the home-coming of our great compatriot, Pope John Paul II. I do believe that the message of love and reconciliation which he left behind will enable us to better understand our own, personal way through life, as well as getting to know better the obligations towards our neighbours and community.

The year 1999 was yet another year of economic growth and meaningful inflow of direct foreign investment. Although the growth pace was slower than planned, we still remained to be one of the fastest developing nations of our region. Don't underestimate that.

We went through difficult moments in the past year. It was the time of changes in many areas of social life, connected with institutional reforms. It was the time of hope, fear, controversy and dispute accompanying such changes. So, all the more widely the powers that be should open themselves to outside criticism and more quickly react to perceived errors and neglect. The reforms are not for their own sake. They must serve people and better organise the state.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

We have still much to do. We must improve the state of security in Polish towns and villages, on streets and highways. We must convince Polish families that we will do everything in our power to fight with crime, violence and impunity. Too often we look on hapless events and human tragedy which could have been avoided.

We must not forget about human poverty, either. Many people are in a hopeless situation, looking for a place under the sun for themselves in the surrounding world and at times for the elementary means to survive. We cannot leave them to themselves. We must be at one with them.

That's why although it is the time of fun and joy let's us also think of those on this New Year's Eve who are in need of help. Of elderly, poor, ill, infirm and jobless people whose number keeps growing. Let's us think how to show the susceptibility of our hearts to them and how really help them.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let's us look on this special night at ourselves, too. Without anger and prejudice. Calmly. Let's us perceive blunders. Not only in other people around, but, above all, errors within ourselves. And perhaps it is not our relatives, children, associates, or our neighbours who are not good enough. Maybe it is up to we ourselves not to be too impatient, not to be too rash in passing judgments,not to be fallible and guilty of renunciation. Let's us draw up such a millennium balance for the common weal.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

We are more and more in this world. Sagacious living is the way to prosperity. In rapport with the world, in concord and amity with others. Let's us remember that the world is neither owned by those who rule, nor by those who command power, nor by those who multiply their fortunes, nor by those who are best educated. The world belongs to all.

Let's us rejoice at hailing the 21st century. It is a great challenge to us, but a great chance, too. Let's us bear that in mind. The near future will be the time of science and modernisation. We will be living in times of mounting competition in economy, science, culture. We must modernise Poland fast.

Skills, knowledge, industry, good organisation and consistency will be indispensable to attain that. The new year ushers in an era of no concession for anyone. I rest convinced that meeting such challenges is within our capabilities!

Ladies and Gentlemen.

May the "courage" we took this year from watching the filmed national epics "Fire and Sword" and "Pan Tadeusz," by having celebrated the Years of Fryderyk Chopin and Juliusz Slowacki stay with us longer. May it give us inspiration and help to overcome difficulties.

I would like to express the most sincere wishes of a happy new year to all of you, and to your children. All the best I wish to each Polish family. I do know that not all of you have the opportunity to spend this evening as you would like. To those I address my special heart-felt wishes of happiness and personal prosperity. I do also remember those who work hard and create our reality. Working people, businessmen, scientists, teachers, artists, doctors and nurses, clergymen, local governments and social workers. I also remember those who study, and those who have retired.

I warmly think of farmers whose problems are being solved with such a difficulty. Poland may always count on their hard toil, understanding and profound patriotism.

At this joyful moment, I would like to greet those who on the New Year's Eve are working or are on duty in the army, police, railway and airports. I am still under the impression of the responsibility and professionalism of the Polish soldiers serving in the peace-keeping forces in Kosovo. To all of you and to your families I address my special wishes.

I also send the best of millennium greetings to our countrymen abroad, who are near in our thoughts, but far away from us. I also address my wishes to our neighbours in Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Ukraine, Byelorus, Germany and Russia. Today, we are togerther with the entire human family.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I wish health and prosperity to you. May your dreams come true. May your troubles go away.

May you feel secure in your homes.

May Polish homesteads be visited by prosperity, friendliness and love.

To all of us I wish that the year 2000 bring our country peace, development and due respect. May we be proud of Poland in this new millennium.

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