Romney set to meet Polish icon Walesa

Romney set to meet Polish icon Walesa

warsaw - Agence France-Presse
Romney set to meet Polish icon Walesa

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. AFP Photo

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was set to meet Poland’s former president Lech Walesa this month, Walesa’s office said. The meeting was scheduled to take place in Walesa’s home, the Baltic port of Gdansk.

“Mitt Romney visits Poland at the special invitation that president Lech Walesa sent the governor at the beginning of the month,” the Lech Walesa Institute said in a statement.

“Poland and Poles are paying close attention to the election campaign in the United States, focused on choosing a leader for the American nation for the next four years,” Walesa wrote in the invitation dated July 4.

“Their choice will influence the fate of America and the world.” In May 2011, Walesa snubbed fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate President Barack Obama, Romney’s Democratic Party rival ahead of the November poll. “I expect this meeting would only amount to a photo opportunity,” Walesa told at the time, explaining why he declined to meet Obama.

Romney was tipped to make a five-country campaign tour this summer with stops in Britain, Israel, Germany, Poland and possibly Afghanistan, the U.S.-base publication Politico said. A New York Times/CBS News poll released last week marked the first time Romney scored a numerical edge over Obama, with 45 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him if the elections were held now, compared with 43 percent for Obama, The New York Times said.

Walesa made history as leader of Solidarity, the Soviet bloc’s first and only free trade union, created on the back of a wave of strikes that swept Poland in 1980. After the Polish regime’s December 1981 martial law crackdown on the union, it survived underground to re-emerge in 1989 under Walesa’s leadership to negotiate a bloodless end to the regime. In 1990, Walesa became Poland’s president.