English Section

Polish president launches diplomatic drive ahead of Biden visit

13.02.2023 13:30
Poland’s president has announced a major diplomatic offensive that will see him meet with the NATO chief as well as the leaders of Britain, Germany, France, Lithuania and Slovakia ahead of next week's visit to Warsaw by US President Joe Biden. 
Polands President Andrzej Duda speaks to reporters in Warsaw on Monday, February 13, 2023.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks to reporters in Warsaw on Monday, February 13, 2023.PAP/Leszek Szymański

Andrzej Duda unveiled the plan at a news conference in Warsaw on Monday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

He said that, with Biden set to visit Poland, “the time is right to launch a diplomatic offensive.”

The Polish president added: “Independently of President Biden’s arrival, we have planned a series of actions … and indeed we are launching this diplomatic offensive in the coming days.”

Meetings with NATO chief, Sunak, Scholz, Macron

Duda said he would hold a video call with Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová and Lithuania’s Gitanas Nausėda on Tuesday, followed by talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Thursday. 

Another stop will be Britain, where the Polish head of state is set to be hosted by King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“Next I will head to Munich for a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as with the newly elected Czech President Petr Pavel and Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre,” the Polish president told reporters. 

Duda said the flurry of meetings this week would focus on preparations for a summit of the Bucharest Nine (B9), a group of eastern-flank NATO allies, to be held in Poland during Biden’s visit, as well as a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the summer, "the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank and support for Ukraine." 

Biden’s visit ‘an absolutely fundamental event for Poland’    

Duda told the media that Biden’s upcoming visit to Warsaw was “an absolutely fundamental event for Poland.”

He said that his diplomatic meetings in the coming days would be concerned with “building Poland’s security” and would “lead us to this year’s most important political event when it comes to security issues, namely the NATO summit, which will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the summer.”

Duda told reporters that preparations for the Vilnius summit were “in full swing” and that Poland would seek to persuade allies “to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank,” including through “deploying a bigger military force” in the region and “increasing the presence of NATO infrastructure.”

A Polish deputy foreign minister said on Monday that Poland was interested in hosting permanent NATO military bases on its soil to bolster the country's security in the wake of Russia's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Monday is day 355 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, interia.pl

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland’s Michał Owczarek.