Parliamentarians from seven East European countries met in Warsaw on Wednesday (14 May) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact.
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Background: Parliamentarians from seven East European countries met in Warsaw on Wednesday (14 May) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact. The Pact links seven countries -- the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and Bulgaria, in a military alliance.
President Jenryk Jablonski welcomed the parliamentarians to Warsaw with a call for a greater drive to achieve peaceful cooperation with other nations.
Wednesday's meeting is seen by observers as being part of a move to play down the military nature of the East European alliance, especially at a time of detente with the West.
Last year, the anniversary was marked by a commemorative assembly of First Secretaries from National Communist Parties.
Writing the Polish Communist Party's newspaper, Trybuna Luda, the country's Deputy Defence Minister General Eugeniusz Molczyk said the Pact had acted as a guarantee of post-war European borders. He added it had also enabled socialist states to consolidate their victory over German fascism 30 years ago.
Comment on the alliance's anniversary in the press of other East European nations has been mixed. The Rumanian newspaper Scinteia called for the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and its western counterpart, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. However, Pravda, from Moscow, praised the Pact, calling it "a stable, mighty alliance of states united by the common great tasks of building Communism."