World leaders have to be direct with each other and cannot speak in “code”…
President-elect Barack Obama’s private conversation with Poland’s president created an international disagreement Saturday, with President Lech Kaczynski saying Mr. Obama promised to continue a missile-defense system and the transition office saying the Democrat made no such commitment.
Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski arrives at the start of European Union leaders summit in Brussels November 7, 2008. EU heads of states and governments are set to call on Friday for next week’s global finance summit in Washington to launch rapid reforms to prevent a fresh outbreak of the credit crisis that has rocked the world economy.REUTERS/Yves Herman (BELGIUM)
President Bush’s White House declined to weigh in on the Friday phone call between the Polish leader and Mr. Obama, who will take office Jan. 20.
By Christina Bellantoni
The Washington Times
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Mr. Obama has spoken with at least 15 world leaders including Mr. Kaczynski and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Mr. Kaczynski issued a statement in the Polish-language section of his Web site saying the U.S. president-elect “emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership of Poland and the United States and expressed hope in the continuation of political and military cooperation between our countries. He also said that the missile-defense project would continue.”
Obama senior foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough released a statement once the news came from Poland.
“President-elect had a good conversation with the Polish president and the Polish prime minister about the important U.S.-Poland alliance,” Mr. McDonough said. “President Kaczynski raised missile defense but President-elect Obama made no commitment on it. His position is as it was throughout the campaign — that he supports deploying a missile-defense system when the technology is proved to be workable.”
Politico.com reported Saturday night that Obama advisers Susan Rice and Tony Lake e-mailed “Obama foreign policy experts” with details on the transition and a warning they should not “under any circumstances speak to the press, any foreign officials, or embassies on behalf of the transition or President-elect Obama.”
“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of this request. It would be highly damaging for foreign governments or media to receive information that they believe falsely to represent the views of the president-elect,” they wrote in an e-mail dated Nov. 7.