Defence Min. back in US for Fort Trump talks

This will be Błaszczak’s second meeting with Mattis this year. In April, they met at the Pentagon to discuss mutual security issues. Virginia Mayo/PAP/EPA

Poland’s Minister of Defence Mariusz Błaszczak is back in Washington to meet with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis. On the agenda: Fort Trump.

With Russia flexing its muscles dangerously near NATO’s eastern flank, Poland has been calling for a permanent American military presence on its territory. For now, US troops are being rotated in the country as part of NATO and bilateral deployments.

Visiting the White House in September, President Andrzej Duda suggested that Poland could invest 2 billion dollars in the base, which he dubbed “Fort Trump”. 

While America considers Poland’s request, Błaszczak has been in close contact with US officials. At the end of October, he met with Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton in Washington.

This will be his second meeting with Mattis this year. In April, they met at the Pentagon to discuss mutual security issues.

At the time, Mattis highlighted Poland’s “deep commitment to collective security” within NATO and its plans to increase military spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030.

Military cooperation is among the topics covered in a joint letter by US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher and Polish Ambassador to the United States Piotr Wilczek published on the centenary of Poland regaining independence. 

“The United States Congress and the Pentagon are considering further enhancements to the US military presence in Poland and our Polish friends are willing to put forth significant resources toward this effort,” they noted.

The ambassadors highlight America’s contribution to Poland’s economic and energy security, as the country seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

The letter also reaffirms the White House’s support for the Three Seas Initiative established by Poland and Croatia, which provides a forum for countries located around the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea.

“President Trump recognized the potential Three Seas presents and pledged United States support for it,” the ambassadors write, a reference to how he attended the Initiative’s second summit in Warsaw last year.

“We are eager to expand the economic and political prospects this project offers to both of our countries,” they add.