NATO’s Washington Summit begins today, but last night a gala event was held for Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Polish Republic, at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore.
Upon Kwasniewski’s arrival, at 5:45 PM, Senator Barbara Mikulski spoke to the audience. “The soul of Poland was never occupied, partitioned, or .occupied,” she declared. She spoke of a traditional polish sword the General of the Polish Army had presented to her with the statement “for our freedom and yours.” Which she followed with another old polish phrase: “Nothing about us without us.” She admitted that “NATO is now at war, we are joined together to end a cruel war.”
Mikulski was followed by President Kwasniewski at the podium. “After such a splendid introduction, it would seem best to say nothing,” he said, eliciting laughter from the crowd of about one hundred and fifty people. He apologized that Guntis Ulmanis, State President of the Republic of Latvia, could not attend as planned. Ulmanis was in last
minute discussions with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Kwasniewski “expressed utter joy” at being invited to the Walters, which is currently showing an exhibit entitled “Land of the Winged Horsemen: Art in Poland, 1572—1764.” He said he “hopes it will be a moment for Poles and Americans to come together.”
Terrance Drabant, President of Lockheed Martin Mission Systems, spoke next. He began in halting polish, saying “it was a great honor to be here.” He spoke of Poland being “the historical defender of Europe,” and how eager he was to aid and strengthen the Polish military. Lockheed Martin has already helped construct Poland’s air defense systems.
An unannounced speaker, Baltimore City Mayor Kurt Shmoke, was the final speaker at the event. Looking to Kwanieski, he said, “we actually met in Berlin several months ago.” He continued,
“I extended an invitation for you to come to Baltimore, and you replied ‘I know Baltimore, you have a suburb known as Washington D.C.’”
Also in attendance was Ambassador Pickering, representing Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Senator Paul Sarbanes, and Kwasniewski’s retinue, which included the Polish Ambassador to the United States, the Minister of Defense, and the Chief of Staff.
The NATO summit begins today as news’surfaces that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has offered to allow a NATO military presence in Kosovo, if NATO stops bombing.
This will be the third time that Milosevic has offered such a peace deal. The other two Russian-bro- tunate individual discovered it was not just another day in Baltimore. His bellicose manner, unrelated to the Walter’s gala, was immediately greeted by fifteen Baltimore Police officers who quickly tossed him into a squad car and sped away.
By 5:30, a squad of Secret Service agents and the President’s own security contingent were swarming through the museum crowd.
This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of NATO, but the heads of the nineteen allied states will also have to address the near-certainty of NATO ground troops in Kosovo. The Interfax news agency quoted Col. Gen. Valery Manilov, a ranking officer of the Russian military’s General Staff, that in the event of a NATO ground war, Russia may begin supplying arms to Serbia.
The black-tie affair for Kwasniewski, planned long before the Kosovo crisis erupted, was held in the Walter’s Renaissance Sculpture Garden, a mere twelve steps from the bustle of downtown Charles Street. Security at the door appeared informal, consisting of a single Baltimore Police officer.
A city block away, however, the illusion was broken, when an unfor [MISSING]