President praises Iraq veterans’ contribution to Poland's position

The president visited the 17th Wielkopolska Mechanised Brigade on Monday to award distinctions to Polish soldiers who fought in the Iraqi city of Karbala in 2004. Lech Muszyński/PAP

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Monday told a group of Polish veterans who had fought in Iraq that they contributed to the respect that Poland has gained among its allies over the past 15 years.

The president visited the 17th Wielkopolska Mechanised Brigade on Monday to award distinctions to Polish soldiers who fought in the Iraqi city of Karbala in 2004.

President Duda was accompanied by Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

"I thank you for your heroism, I thank you for your courage, I thank the colonel, his subordinates and all those who at that time commanded the Polish soldiers, for their wisdom," the president said.

"You contributed to the strengthening of Poland's independence as, you certainly contributed to the respect that our allies show towards us," Duda said.

"For the past 15 years, Poland has been reaping the harvest of your excellent service," President Duda said, pointing to NATO's increased presence on Poland's territory and the country's bigger say in NATO.