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Lech Walesa, Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner, backs Romney

Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President Lech Walesa encouraged Mitt Romney, while the Polish Solidarity movement distanced itself.

Lech walesa romney poland solidarity july 30 2012Enlarge
Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney (R) and his wife Ann (L) hold the hands of former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa (C), during a meeting at Artus Court, in Gdansk, on 30, 2012. (JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrived in Poland on Monday, where he received encouragement and what effectively amounted to an endorsement from the country's former president, Lech Walesa, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the co-founder of the Solidarity labor movement in Poland, lauded Romney through a translator.

"Poland and many other countries will certainly do their best for the United States to restore its leadership position," said Walesa, according to the LA Times. "And after our conversation, I'm quite confident that you will be successful in doing that."

"I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too. Governor Romney, get your success, be successful!" Walesa said, according to The Washington Post.

Romney responded, "Thank you so much. I appreciate your invitation and I'm glad to be here with you," said the Post.

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Yahoo News noted that Romney' made his visit to Poland on an invitation from Walesa. The Obama administration's relationship with Poland has been strained since 2009, when the administration canceled plans for an air missile defense system to be built in Poland, according to Yahoo News. Poland viewed the move as a concession to Russia.

Romney also met with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk earlier in the day.

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Solidarity, the trade union movement that was co-founded by Walesa, distanced itself from Romney, lamenting that he supported attacks on unions in the United States, according to Reuters.

In a statement, the movement said, "Regretfully, we were informed by our friends from the American headquarters of (trade union federation) AFL-CIO, which represents more than 12 million employees...that Mitt Romney supported attacks on trade unions and employees' rights."

"Solidarity was not involved in organizing Romney's meeting with Walesa and did not invite him to visit Poland," it added, according to Reuters.

Romney was on the third and last leg of his international tour, which included earlier stops in London and Israel.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/poland/120730/lech-walesa-polish-nobel-peace-prize-winner-backs-romney

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