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Our discussion made me realise, once again, that democracy has one very important feature, brought to our attention by our friend from Libya: “Democracy has a price which has to be paid.” Indeed, there is a price that we have to pay for democracy. This applies equally to individual nations and international relations. I shall never forget the bitter, but how true remark made by a participant from Syria who reminded us that Kaddafi, Assad, Ben Ali or Mubarak could continue to act as long as we, representatives of democratic countries, shook hands with them. This is an important issue postulating that international relations be built on values.
Jerzy Pomianowski is the Executive Director of the European Endowment for Democracy. He is a professional diplomat (holding the rank of Ambassador) and has been on the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Poland since 1991. He has been the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1 July 2011 until December 2012. His primary responsibilities included non-European policy and democratization agenda. From 1980 to 1989, he was an active member of the democratic opposition in Poland: he was a member of the board of Independent Students’ Association and the co-founder and head of the independent publishing house “Student Publishing House SOWA-NZS”. He graduated from the University of Warsaw, majoring in Sociology (1987). He was awarded the following state distinctions: Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star (Japan) and Award for Merit in Sport (Minister of Sport and Tourism of Poland).