Krzysztof Skubiszewski, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, and member of Baltic Development Forum’s honorary board since our start in 1998, passed away on February 8th, 83 years old.
He became the first foreign minister in the Poland that appeared after the end of communist rule – and he served on this post from 1989 to 1993. After that he served with the international court in the Hague, and was president of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal from 1994 to his death. He was born in Poznan, and was a professor of law at the University there.
I shall never forget the impact it made on the United Nations annual general assembly, when he took the floor and delivered his speech in French – a stark contrast to his predecessors, who always spoke in Russian.
I visited “Skubi”, as he was fondly called among friends, in Warsaw the late autumn of 1989 on an official visit to Poland that happened to take place in the days when “the velvet revolution” unfolded in Prague. In the middle of the night Skubi called me at the guest-house and exclaimed with joy that he had just received information that the communist rulers of Czechoslovakia had thrown the towel in the ring. He was a gentle and soft-spoken man, but he was emotionally involved in the changes that took place in Europe in those years – and was Poland’s international face in those years.
He was also very active in the creation of the Council of Baltic Sea States that was formally established in Copenhagen in early 1992 – and demonstrated his strong devotion to our region when he accepted to join the honorary board of BDF together with other vanguards from our region.
Let us honor the memory of a great Pole and a great human being.