World leaders to celebrate Poland's independence centenary in December

Leaders of some 50 countries, who will come to Poland to attend a UN climate summit in December, will take part in celebrations marking Poland's independence centenary, PAP was told on Wednesday by the Polish president's top aide, Krzysztof Szczerski.

Szczerski stressed that international celebrations marking Poland's independence centenary have been taking place throughout the entire year, both in Poland and worldwide, during official visits paid by the president.

The main international observances will take place in Poland's southern city of Katowice and will be attended by around 50 state and government heads, as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who will come to Poland to take part in the COP24 summit on climate change.

A special concert will be held at the concert hall of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice on December 3, Szczerski said, adding that the gathering will be addressed by President Andrzej Duda.

The official went on to say that since the very beginning, the programme of international observances marking Poland's independence centenary was not planned for November 11, as it is a holiday in many other European countries, observed as the anniversary of the end of WWI.

"Putting world leaders in a situation, in which they have to make a choice between the end of WWI celebrations and Poland's independence centenary observances could be problematic for everyone," Szczerski stressed, declaring that this was why the international programme was planned to take place in stages.

Szczerski recalled that a summit of the so called Bucharest Nine was held in Warsaw in June, and that world leaders taking part in the meeting also attended a gala concert at the Royal Theatre in the Royal Łazienki. "They presented symbolic gifts, which will be on display after the end of this year's observances," he said.

"Global observances will take place in December when leaders of several dozen countries will come to our country. Fifty state and government heads have already confirmed their participation, but we hope the number will reach a hundred. Surely, all the UN countries will be represented in Poland," he underlined.

Szczerski remarked that "due to their very close vicinity," special emphasis had been put on the Polish-German dimension of Poland's independence centenary. "Therefore the double visit - paid by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Warsaw and President Duda to Berlin, and joint observances," he added.

The official emphasised that Poland's independence centenary was also an important event during President Duda's meetings with Poles living abroad during his foreign visits.

"The 100th anniversary of Poland's independence was also marked during the Polish president's visit to the Vatican," he added.

He also announced that on November 11, world leaders will receive a message from the Polish president informing them about the anniversary.

Poland regained independence on Nov. 11, 1918 after 123 years of partitions.

The COP24 summit on climate change will take place in Poland's southern city of Katowice on December 3-14, 2018. The COP (Conference of the Parties) summit is the highest body of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). Decisions made at COP summits map out global climate policy for the following years.