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NATO’s Vilnius summit will be key to making Europe more secure: Polish president

27.06.2023 23:45
Poland’s president has said that a lot still needs to be done to strengthen Europe’s security and that NATO's summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, next month, will be key to making Europe more secure. 
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks at a news conference after a working dinner of NATO heads of state and government, in The Hague, The Netherlands, on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks at a news conference after a working dinner of NATO heads of state and government, in The Hague, The Netherlands, on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.PAP/Marcin Obara

Andrzej Duda made the statement at a meeting with fellow NATO leaders in The Hague in the Netherlands on Tuesday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The working dinner was co-hosted by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, according to officials. 

Guests included the Polish president as well as Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium, President Gitanas Nausėda of Lithuania, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania, NATO said.

Held to “help prepare" the alliance’s summit in Vilnius on July 11-12, the meeting focused on “Russia’s war against Ukraine and other security issues,” according to officials. 

Vilnius summit will be key for Europe’s security 

At a joint news conference afterwards, Poland’s Duda said that the Vilnius summit “will be a key NATO summit given the security situation in Europe after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.”

He stated: “Over the last 16 months Poland has taken serious steps to strengthen its security and ... NATO's and Europe’s resilience in the face of the Russian aggression. We have made historic investments in our infrastructure, technology, industrial and military capacity.” 

The president also said that Poland had “deepened its engagement and alignment with allies and partners around the world.”

Duda added: “I appreciate that we can count on other allies in that matter. We’re going in the same direction, that’s a safe and prosperous Europe and a peaceful world order.”

He emphasised that "a lot still needs to be done with regard to the security of NATO member states, Europe and the rules–based global order and international law.”

'Five areas of major importance to us'

The Polish head of state told reporters: “During the meeting I indicated five areas of major importance to us. They are related to challenges we have been dealing with.”

He said: “For Poland it is vital to strengthen and further adapt NATO’s deterrence and defence; ensure long–term increase in defence spending by all allies; support finalizing Sweden’s accession to NATO; provide necessary assistance to Ukraine and bring it closer to NATO membership; develop a long–term approach on how to respond to Russian military, economic and political threats.”

“That is the backdrop for the NATO Vilnius summit preparations,” Duda added.

The Polish president told reporters that Tuesday's meeting in The Hague "was very candid, very in–depth and constructive.”

Prigozhin’s potential stay in Belarus ‘requires very tough answer from NATO’

Asked by reporters about Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin’s move to Belarus following his aborted anti-Kremlin rebellion on Saturday--and the possibility that Prigozhin’s Wagner group of mercenaries might follow their leader to Poland’s neighbour Belarus--Duda said: “In my opinion, this is a really serious and very concerning problem and … one that requires a very tough answer from NATO.”

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Tuesday is day 489 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, prezydent.pl, NATO