Final talks on US military presence likely during president's US visit

Marcin Kmieciński/PAP

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Wednesday it is highly likely that during President Andrzej Duda's trip to the USA in June, talks will be held finalising the first stage of the process of increasing the US military presence in Poland.

On Tuesday, senior presidential aide Krzysztof Szczerski expressed hope after talks at the White House that the planned meeting between Presidents Duda and Trump on June 12 will be of a "breakthrough nature" for Polish efforts to increase the USA's military engagement in Poland.

"It is very probable that actually during President Andrzej Duda's visit there will be finalisation of at least the first phase of the process related to increasing the United States' military presence in Poland," Defence Minister Błaszczak stated on public radio when asked about Szczerski's statement.

Błaszczak gave his assurance that a decision on increasing the military presence had already been taken and current negotiations concern only "when and in what area" it will occur. "Those negotiations are coming to an end," he remarked.

The defence minister went on to announce that he will be a member of the delegation that travels to the US in June, elaborating that he will go a few days ahead of the president in order to meet with Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

Polish President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda will start a six-day US trip with a meeting with US first couple Donald Trump and Melania Trump at the White House on June 12.

This will be the second Duda-Trump meeting at the White House. The previous one was held in autumn last year.

Between June 13-17, the Polish first couple will visit Texas, Nevada and California, where Duda will hold talks on energy and new technologies.