Poland key hub for NATO, US troops in region: president
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland is becoming an increasingly important hub for a NATO and US military presence in its region, the Polish president said on Thursday.
President Andrzej Duda speaks at an annual meeting of Poland's top defence policy makers and military brass at the presidential palace in Warsaw on Thursday. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński
Speaking during an annual briefing with top defence policy makers, President Andrzej Duda said: "We see this role not only in terms of Poland's own security, but also the security of the entire eastern flank and of the Baltic Sea basin, and hence the whole of Europe.”
Duda also said that NATO remained the "cornerstone of cooperation in the entire Euro-Atlantic area" despite some tension emerging between the European Union and the United States, Poland's PAP news agency reported.
He added: "Poland will always work to strengthen the deterrence and defence potential of the Alliance, and will at the same time become involved in projects to develop the European defence system, including Permanent Structured Cooperation and the European Defence Fund, striving all the while to make sure they are complementary with NATO.”
Duda in October 2017 signed into law plans to steadily increase the country’s defence spending to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2030.
"Having in mind the need to develop and modernise the armed forces, I am going to continue working for a gradual increase in defence spending," Duda declared on Thursday.
“Bearing in mind the current Armed Forces Technical Modernisation Plan and the needs of the armed forces, I maintain my proposal that this level [of spending] be achieved as early as 2024. I hope that will be possible," he said.
Defence spending, an increased presence of NATO troops and further modernisation of Poland’s armed forces were among the key issues discussed when President Duda, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and top military brass met for their annual briefing in Warsaw on Thursday.
Poland's government last month signed a deal to buy 20 HIMARS artillery rocket systems from the United States for USD 414 million as part of a military modernisation drive.
Poland in March last year signed what officials described as a historic deal to buy an American Patriot air defence system for USD 4.75 billion.