Polish MoD says 'good atmosphere' after talks with Pentagon chief

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak met with US Defence Secretary James Mattis in Washington on Tuesday to discuss Poland's proposal of a permanent US base in Poland. "The atmosphere is good," Błaszczak said after the meeting.

The Polish minister said that during the meeting with Mattis he heard tangible proposals concerning the Polish initiative to build a permanent US base in Poland, that Warsaw is ready to co-finance.

"We've heard the Pentagon's first assessments, we're moving forward on the matter, but we need to stress that we are in a certain process, so nothing will happen rapidly," Mariusz Błaszczak said.

Meeting the Polish guest with military honours, the Pentagon chief assured that the United States will continue to strengthen its military cooperation with Poland and maintain close ties with the Polish armed forces.

Asked whether he supported the Polish initiative, Mattis said both countries were still working on the matter.

After an hour-long meeting, which was the Polish minister's second working meeting with the Pentagon chief, Błaszczak said that the Polish concept had been well received in the Pentagon.

"Security is our common goal - for me, it's the security of Poland, and for the United States it's the security of the whole world," Błaszczak said, adding that he had invited the US defence secretary to Poland and that Mattis had accepted the invitation.

Tuesday saw Błaszczak's second working meeting with Mattis concerning the initiative to locate a permanent base of US troops in Poland and was an extension of a special Polish-American team working on the matter.

As a "check of the mood" around the initiative, Minister Błaszczak also held a further series of meetings on Capitol Hill, where he met with Jon Kyl, a Republican senator from the state of Arizona, who was elected to the Senate to replace John McCain, who died last summer.

Late on Tuesday, the Polish minister attended an official reception held by the Polish ambassador in Washington to mark Poland's independence centenary.

Błaszczak's two-day visit is his fifth trip to Washington since he took office in January this year.