Polish President Andrzej Duda shakes hands with Lech Wałęsa
PR dla Zagranicy
President Andrzej Duda approached former Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa to shake his hand during the 36th anniversary of the historic August Agreement between unionists and the communist authorities in Gdańsk on Wednesday.
Lech Wałęsa and Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Adam Warżawa
Duda approached former President Wałęsa to shake his hand during the traditional part of a Catholic Mass – the handshake of peace.
The Mass was part of anniversary events in Gdańsk and was attended by top Polish politicians and Solidarity trade union representatives.
Wałęsa committed what was seen by many as a faux paus a few days ago when, during ceremonies commemorating two Polish heroes executed by the communist regime after World War II, he left a commemorative Mass early.
wPolityce magazine said Wałęsa walked out during President Duda’s speech, adding that President Duda showed on Wednesday that he did not hold that against the former Solidarity leader.
During a speech at an earlier part of Wednesday’s events, at which part Wałęsa was not present, President Duda thanked the former head of Solidarity and its members.
"Thank you, because we would not be here, and I would certainly not be in this place, if you had not stood your ground then," said President Duda.
The August 1980 Agreement is considered by many to have been the beginning of the end of communist rule in Poland. The accord ultimately led to the formation of Solidarity, the first free trade union in a Warsaw Pact country. (mol/pk)
Source: wpolityce.pl, PAP, onet.pl