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Bush Praises Opposition in Polish Speech

September 28, 1987|United Press International

WARSAW — Flashing a "V-for-victory" salute, Vice President George Bush led a powerful tribute to Poland's political opposition today and rallied its followers "to fight for the freedom to practice (your) religion, to speak, to write, to think and to associate as (you) wish."

To shouts of "Long live Bush," the vice president made a pilgrimage to the grave of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, the Roman Catholic priest whose 1984 slaying by secret police kept alive the flame of the rebellious Solidarity trade union.

Bush arrived at St. Stanislaw Kostka Church in the surprise company of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, triggering an emotional surge that underscored the depth of political discord in Poland.

"I am proud to be standing next to Lech Walesa, a man so respected in the United States of America," Bush said, "and we join you in pledging that Father Popieluszko did not die in vain."

The embrace of Solidarity came as Bush continued an effort to strike a balance between American desires for better relations with Poland and continued pressure on its leader, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, to permit more economic and political freedom.

The political re-engagement that has occurred since martial law was lifted in 1983 and the general amnesty was ordered a year ago was to be addressed by Bush in a live address on state-run Polish television tonight, an unprecedented accommodation by his hosts to a visiting Western leader.

The two tracks of the U.S. approach to normalized relations with Poland were evident in the fact that 90 minutes after standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Walesa, Bush was being welcomed into the inner sanctum of the Council of Ministers by Prime Minister Zbigniew Messner.

A short time later, Bush reaffirmed "the ongoing process of re-engagement between our two countries" by joining Deputy President Kazimierz Barcikowski in signing an agreement that revives cooperation in science and technology.

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