The Polish parliament's speaker, Bronislaw Komorowski, played down the fact that Washington is sending former Defence Secretary William Perry to attend the ceremony, while other countries are represented at the highest level.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon have all confirmed their attendance, along with many other leaders. Britain has already accepted the invitation and will be represented by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, it was reported in the press. The recently-elected first Polish president of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek will also be present, the Parliament's website announces.
"It's hard to judge invited guests on the basis of their will to attend a gathering or not," he said. "Those who want to be there shall come. And we should be happy with those who will arrive and not pass judgment on those who cannot come to Poland for various reasons," Komorowski said.
Poland was hoping that Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, would attend the ceremony and hold talks with Polish representatives on issues such as the US missile shield planned for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic.
According to some reports, the US has decided to abandon the plans in order to avoid tensions with Russia. The Warsaw daily Gazeta Wyborcza said that Washington was exploring other options including deploying the shield in Israel, Turkey, the Balkans or on battleships.
A Pentagon official was quoted by The Independent newspaper as saying that no final decision has been made in the US regarding missile defence in Europe.
US aerospace and defence company Boeing recently unveiled a surprise proposal to build a mobile interceptor missile in an effort to build a 'Russia-friendly' shield (EurActiv 20/08/09).