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Obama in Poland

Barrack Obama’s grinning face peered from the front pages of most Polish newspapers this morning and many Polish television stations broadcast the inauguration live, with commentary by panellists who noted the pomp and precision of the ceremonies.

There were no parties on the grey streets of the Polish capital, but Poles are looking to the new administration with realism, expecting that Mr Obama will be so preoccupied with economic crisis and wars that he will have little time and energy for central Europe.

The most visible commentary came from Radoslaw Sikorski, the foreign minister, who penned an article in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily headlined: “Good Luck, Mr President.”

“We are ready to support the new US administration everywhere that our interests coincide and our potential allows,” he wrote, adding that Warsaw was particularly interested in maintaining the strategic relationship between the two countries, particularly with respect to the planned missile defence shield, elements of which may be located on Polish territory.

In that he was backed by Lech Kaczynski, Poland’s president, who said he hoped Mr Obama would quickly realise that the shield was “crucial”.

In a break with the relief felt across much of Europe over George W. Bush’s departure, Mr Kaczynski said he was, “filled with respect” for the outgoing president.

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http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/poland/090120/obama-poland