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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

LATEST: Polish, US presidents to meet on June 24: White House

17.06.2020 20:40
Polish President Andrzej Duda and US leader Donald Trump will meet at the White House on June 24, the White House press secretary said in a statement on Wednesday.
Audio
Photo:
Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

“President Donald J. Trump will welcome President Andrzej Duda of the Republic of Poland to the White House on June 24, 2020,” the statement said.

It added that the visit "comes at a critical time for both the United States and Poland, as we reopen our countries after months of battling the coronavirus pandemic."

As close partners and NATO allies, the United States and Poland continue to expand their cooperation across a wide range of issues, according to the White House press secretary.

Trump and Duda are expected to discuss “further advancing our cooperation on defense, as well as trade, energy, and telecommunications security,” Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also said.

The White House statement comes after the Politico news service reported that Duda could visit the White House next week for talks with the US president amid plans for a troop shift in Europe.

According to public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency, Duda will be the first foreign leader to visit the White House since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, which caused all of Trump’s meetings with guests from abroad to be suspended.

The visit will be taking place ahead of Poland’s presidential election, which is scheduled for June 28 and in which Duda is seeking another five years in office.

US troops in Poland

Duda's trip to Washington is likely to coincide with Trump’s plans to announce an increase in the number of US forces stationed in Poland, according to the politico.com website.

Trump plans to cut US troop numbers in Germany by more than 9,000 while increasing the US presence in Poland, Politico reported.

Meanwhile, a senior aide to the Polish president last week slammed what he described as “disinformation” in a Reuters report which said that plans for a military base referred to as “Fort Trump” in Poland have crumbled amid disputes over how to fund the deployment and where to garrison the American troops.

The US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher dismissed that article as “fake news.”

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that an increasing US military presence in Poland “is a fact.” He wrote on Twitter: “Now we are agreeing the final details and the talks are taking place in a good atmosphere.”

Fears of Russia

Amid fears of Russian aggression, the authorities in Warsaw have been making intense efforts to secure boosted US troop numbers in Poland, which lies on the eastern flank of NATO.

Following Moscow's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014, NATO decided at a Warsaw summit in July 2016 to deploy four rotating multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states.

During a meeting at the White House in June last year, Duda and Trump announced a deal on a stepped-up American military presence in Poland while also sealing a raft of economic agreements.

Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump shake hands as they conduct a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 12, 2019. Photo: Ron Sachs/CNP Photo via Newscom/PAP Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump shake hands as they conduct a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 12, 2019. Photo: Ron Sachs/CNP Photo via Newscom/PAP

The two presidents in September signed a defence agreement to name locations for more American troops in Poland.

Poland and the United States agreed to bolster defence ties and pledged to step up cooperation on energy projects when Duda and Trump met at the White House in September 2018.

(gs/pk)

Source: whitehouse.gov