President Ivan Gašparovič on April 12 visited Poland's Embassy in Bratislava to express his condolences with the entire Polish nation over the crash of the plane carrying Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and a host of other top Polish officials on Saturday, the TASR newswire reported.
“I come here with a message 'Goodbye, my friend', as we knew each other more than as politicians,” Gašparovič told TASR after putting his signature into the book of condolences. He added that since he has been involved in politics he doesn’t remember any other tragedy that reaches such proportions. At the same time, the Slovak president indicated that he will attend Kaczynski's funeral on Saturday.
The Polish president perished along with his wife Maria Kaczynska, several parliamentarians, top military officers and religious figures on board a Tupolev-154 plane that was en route to the Katyn forest (Russia) to commemorate the victims of the massacre perpetrated by Soviets on Polish military leaders 70 years ago.
It was as though the world came to a halt when the aircraft carrying Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and a number of other top Polish officials crashed on Saturday, said opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda. Speaking at Poland’s Embassy in Bratislava, where former two-time premier Dzurinda put his signature into the book of condolences, he added that there is nobody who hasn’t been affected by the tragedy. “These are emotional moments for me, too. I knew Mr President as far back as 1991,” added Dzurinda (who was a Deputy Transportation and Posts Minister in 1991).
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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13. Apr 2010 at 14:00