Published March 19, 2004
WARSAW, Poland – President Aleksander Kwasniewski (search) told President Bush on Friday that Polish troops will stay in Iraq "as long as needed, plus one day longer," his national security adviser said.
The comments came one day after Kwasniewski said Polish troops might leave Iraq months earlier than planned and that Poland had been misled over Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction arsenal.
Kwasniewski pledged to keep the troops in Iraq in a phone call by Bush to mark the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the adviser, Marek Siwiec, told reporters.
Siwiec said Bush thanked Kwasniewki for Poland's military involvement in Iraq.
Poland commands a postwar multinational force of some 9,500 troops in south-central Iraq, including 2,400 of its own.
"President Kwasniewski confirmed our further involvement in the Iraqi mission and that we will be there as long as needed, plus one day longer," Siwiec said.
The White House (search) moved quickly to underline Poland's commitment, distributing a statement from the Polish embassy in Washington which cited "misinterpretations" of Kwasniewski's earlier remarks.
"Poland will not withdraw from Iraq until the mission of stabilization is successfully accomplished and counts on effective cooperation with the United States, Great Britain, Spain and other NATO and UN members states," the embassy statement said.
It said Saddam Hussein (search) had "misled the world in believing that he had had the weapons of mass destruction and might use them. This was the essential reason to take up the mission in Iraq with a common strategy of multinational coaltion in the war on terrorism."
The statement quoted Kwasniewski as saying that a decisive factor in fighting terrorism was for democratic states to maintain unity and solidarity.
"Demonstration of weakness in the face of terrorist attacks aims at the foundations of democracy and security of all nations and world peace," the embassy said.