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Polish defence minister hails 'very successful' talks with US counterpart

07.10.2021 10:15
Poland's Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has said he had "very successful" talks with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin when the two met at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
  • Polish defence minister hails 'very successful' talks with US counterpart
Mariusz Błaszczak and Lloyd Austin meet at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
Mariusz Błaszczak and Lloyd Austin meet at the Pentagon on Wednesday. Photo: EPA/SHAWN THEW

Błaszczak on Wednesday started a three-day visit to the United States, where he is scheduled to hold a series of talks with American officials about European security and bilateral military deals, according to the Polish defence ministry.

After meeting US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon, Błaszczak told reporters that the talks focused on bilateral military cooperation, ways of "strengthening Polish-American defence ties and plans to "equip the Polish Army with modern hardware," including US-made Abrams tanks.

Officials announced this summer that Poland would buy 250 Abrams tanks from the United States as part of a multibillion deal with Washington.

"Everything indicates that the first Abrams tanks will be made available for use by the Polish Army next year," Błaszczak told reporters on Wednesday.

He added that a senior US Army official would come to Poland at the end of October to discuss the details of the purchase.

He also said that equipping the Polish Army with Abrams tanks would help "build interoperability between American and Polish forces."

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

The itinerary of Błaszczak's trip stateside also includes talks on Capitol Hill and a visit to a military base in the southern US state of Oklahoma.

Błaszczak is on Thursday scheduled to visit Fort Sill, a U.S. Army base in Oklahoma, where Polish soldiers are learning to operate the American-made Patriot air defence system, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

On Friday, Błaszczak plans to unveil a plaque in Doylestown, Pennsylvania to commemorate the 1920 Battle of Warsaw against the Russian Bolsheviks, and will also lay flowers on the graves of Polish officers, the defence ministry in Warsaw has announced.

Poland's president in November last year ratified a major military deal with the United States under which at least 1,000 extra American troops are expected to be stationed in the NATO eastern-flank country.

Poland in March 2018 signed what officials described as a historic deal to buy an American Patriot air defence system for USD 4.75 billion.


Source: IAR, gov.pl