SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning, everyone.  It’s a great pleasure once again to have my friend Zbigniew Rau, the foreign minister of Poland, here at the State Department in Washington.  We were just together in Bucharest for a very important meeting of the NATO foreign ministers.  But I can’t think of a time when the United States and Poland and our partnership has been more important and more effective.  Thanks to Poland’s leadership, we are standing strong in support of Ukraine faced with the Russian aggression – supporting it in terms of security assistance, economic assistance, humanitarian assistance.

Poland has done, the Polish people have done extraordinary things in their generosity towards so many refugees from Ukraine.  And Poland has been instrumental in the work that everyone has done to help Ukraine deal with the Russian aggression.  Our Alliance in NATO could not be stronger, and we are working together to strengthen NATO going forward, to strengthen its defensive capacity, to implement the Strategic Concept that we’ve all agreed on.  And of course, Poland’s in the leadership of the OSCE at a critical time, and that too we very much applaud.

So on these critical security issues but also our own bilateral relationship, these could not be stronger, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue the conversation, the dialogue on these and many other issues.  So welcome, Zbigniew.

FOREIGN MINISTER RAU:  Thank you.  Thank you, Tony.  It’s my honor and my pleasure to be back in Washington, D.C.  Last time when I was visiting you, it was almost on the eve of Russian —

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  That’s right.

FOREIGN MINISTER RAU:  — aggression against Ukraine.  We didn’t expect that.  Nevertheless, when it came to this very tragic event, we, as Allies, as NATO members, showed firmness, resilience, and determination in the defense of our common values.  And this is, above all, what is uniting Poland and the U.S.  Needless to say that traditionally Poland considers the United States our closest ally, and the tradition of our friendship is as – as old as the history of the United States.  But I’m absolutely sure that right now our bilateral relations are as strong as never – as never before.  Nevertheless, I’m also sure that the best time in our bilateral relations is still ahead of us.

So this is the reason why I’m so excited we’re coming here and look forward to our discussions concerning our future cooperation in many, many dimensions – political, military, certainly economic – it’s enough to mention our cooperation by – with launching our nuclear power program.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes.

FOREIGN MINISTER RAU:  And there are many, many other ties that connect our two states and is also very important – our two societies.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, my friend.  Welcome.  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future