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Poland declines to take part in "Odyssey Dawn"

21st March 2011
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Willing to offer logistical, humanitarian support

Courtesy of US Air Force

On Saturday, French planes fired the first shots in what is the largest international military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, destroying tanks and armored vehicles in the region of the rebels' eastern stronghold, Benghazi.

Hours later, US and British forces launched Tomahawk missiles against air defenses around the capital Tripoli and the western city of Misurata, which has been besieged by Gaddafi's forces. Italy and Canada are also taking part in operation “Odyssey Dawn,” designed to impose a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone and force Gaddafi's troops to cease fire and end attacks on civilians.

Speaking prior to an emergency meeting of world leaders held in Paris, Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced that Poland did not intend to take part in any military action in Libya.

“The Polish position is clear - restraint and calm response,” said the prime minister, adding, however, that the country is always ready “to provide solidarity to any NATO country which will find itself in danger.” Tusk did say that Poland, like Germany, is prepared to take part in any humanitarian efforts in Libya.

“Poland will offer logistical support, but will play no military role in Libya. We are ready to help with our transport planes. We can deploy some of our forces and our resources for humanitarian aid,” confirmed Defense Minister Bogdan Klich.

Gazeta Wyborcza lists several reasons for Poland’s restraint, from the geopolitical (Poland has few interests in the Arab world, and no neocolonial ambitions) to the purely financial. In addition, elections will be held in October, and, according to polls regarding the Polish mission in Afghanistan, Poles are reluctant to intervene militarily. The daily suggests that PM Tusk is unwilling to irritate his electorate.

Poland AM

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