Polish MoD very satified with security talks in Washington

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Friday he was pleased with the talks he conducted during his two-day official visit to the United States, which showed US appreciation for "the very good military cooperation" between the two countries.

The Polish official was in Washington at the invitation of US Secretary of Defence James Mattis.

As Mattis, a former US Marine Corps general, pointed out his Friday talks with Blaszczak were his first official talks, but the second meeting, overall, with the Polish Minister of National Defence in the last two months. Earlier, Minister Blaszczak had the opportunity to talk with the US official at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels in February.

One of the main issues discussed in the Pentagon on Friday was the Polish proposal to increase the number of American troops stationed in Poland.

Before the talks started, Mattis told reporters that Poland is an ally of the United States and the United States is always ready to discuss Poland's proposals.

The US Secretary of Defence spoke very warmly about Poland and the long-standing tradition of Polish-American military cooperation dating back to the times of Poland's Tadeusz Kosciuszko's participation in the United States' war for independence.

He praised Poland for increasing the Polish defence budget from 2 percent to 2.5 percent of GDP and the decision to purchase the Patriot (air and missile defence) system, which according to him will adapt Polish armed forces to the requirements of modern times.

The Pentagon chief also thanked the Polish authorities for hosting NATO and US military forces on Polish territory and for Poland's contribution to operations in Afghanistan and to fighting with the so-called Islamic State. 

Minister Blaszczak said a press conference on Friday that among other issues raised during the conversation with Mattis, were other purchases of American military equipment by Poland. The Polish official told reporters that he renewed his invitation for the US defence secretary to visit Poland and "everything indicates that the invitation was accepted."

On Thursday, Blaszczak met with US National Security Advisor John Bolton. The two officials discussed security issues, including a stronger presence of US troops in Poland. After the meeting, the defence minister told Polish reporters that Bolton took "very seriously" Poland's proposal to increase the number of US troops stationed in Poland.

The Polish defence minister also conducted a series of talks with US legislators from both parties represented in the US Congress, including the Republican chairmen of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Armed Forces, as well as the key members of these bodies, including those from the minority Democratic Party. 

Welcome to The First News weekly newsletter

Every Friday catch up on our editor’s top pick of news about Poland, including politics, business, life and culture. To receive your free email subscription, sign up today.