President Duda criticises NATO
PR dla Zagranicy
President Andrzej Duda criticised NATO for treating Poland 'like a 'buffer zone' as he prepared to oversee the change of command of NATO's Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin, northern Poland.
President Andzrej Duda (R) and Minister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak (C), oversee the change of command of NATO's Multinational Corps Northeast from Poland's General Bogusław Samol to Germany's General Manfred Hofmann, Szczecin. Photo: PAP/Marcin Bielecki
In his first interview for international media since being sworn in on 6 August, Duda told the Financial Times that NATO “has not yet taken note of the shift of Poland... from the east to the west.
“We do not want to be the buffer zone,” he said.
“We want to be the real eastern flank of the alliance,” he affirmed.
Duda argued that in terms of the spread of NATO bases in Europe, “the borderline is Germany,” and that NATO should establish permanent bases further east.
“If Poland and other central European countries constitute the real flank of NATO, then it seems natural to me, a logical conclusion, that bases should be placed in those countries.”
NATO has been increasingly active in training exercises in Poland in recent months, with revolving multinational troops taking part.
The organisation has a small base in Szczecin, and Warsaw wants this to be doubled in size, a move opposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who feels the action would provoke Russia.
Duda visited the site on Thursday with Minister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak. They were there to witness the switching of the revolving command of NATO's Multinational Corps Northeast from Poland's General Bogusław Samol to Germany's General Manfred Hofmann.
Last month, a US State Department official ruled out the possibility of a decision being taken at Warsaw's July 2016 NATO summit about a prospective permanent alliance base in Poland. (nh/rk)