Polish president starts US visit

2019-09-22 18:09 update: 2019-09-23, 09:15
Andrzej Duda. Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Andrzej Duda. Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
President Andrzej Duda and his wife began a US visit late on Saturday. In the US Duda will attend the general debate of the 74th UN General Assembly session, he is also expected to speak with US President Donald Trump.

Duda's itinerary will begin on Sunday with a meeting with the Polish community in New Britain, Connecticut. 

During a later ceremony at Walnut Hill Park, the Polish president will decorate distinguished representatives of the Polish community in the US.

On Monday, the Polish leader will take part in the inauguration of the Climate Summit organised by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. During the summit the president will submit Polish proposals for climate action.

Then the president will open a Polish room, furnished with Polish-designed furniture, next to the meeting room of the UN Security Council. 

Next, Andrzej Duda will attend a high-level meeting on religious freedom chaired by the US president. This debate will be followed by a bilateral meeting of the Polish and US presidents at 2.15 pm. According to Duda's aide Krzysztof Szczerski, the meeting was Trump's initiative, 

"It will be a full-scale meeting, that is, a face-to-face meeting followed by plenary talks between the delegations from both countries," he said, adding that the Polish side hope it will yield a declaration on raising the presence of US military forces in Poland.

The declaration was to have been sealed during Trump's planned September visit to Poland, which the US President cancelled due to hurricane threats in Florida.

According to Szczerski, the presidents will also raise topics related to bilateral cooperation in the field of energy and new technologies.

The Duda-Trump talks would also likely embrace the possible lifting of US visas for Poles, Szczerski said. Visa-free travel to the US can be granted only if the visa refusal ratio for a given country is below 3 percent. Until now, Poland's refusal ratio was above this threshold.

On Monday Duda is also scheduled to meet with the President of Finland Sauli Niinisto. 

On Tuesday morning Duda will hear Donald Trump's speech during the general debate of the 74th UN General Assembly session. This is to be followed by two bilateral meetings of the Polish president: with the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid and with the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

On Tuesday afternoon Duda is scheduled to speak at the General Assembly debate. Szczerski said that the Polish president's address will focus on peace, the environment and sustainable growth.

In the evening, the Polish presidential couple will take part in a traditional reception hosted by Trump for participants of the UN General Assembly session. According to Szczerski, this will be another opportunity for unofficial talks between the Polish and US presidents.

On Wednesday morning, Duda will also attend a conference marking the 30th anniversary of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as in the debate on implementing the goals of sustainable development.

Later, the Polish president will talk with the UN Secretary General. 

A meeting of the presidential couple with Jewish communities is also planned at the invitation of the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York.

The presidential couple will depart for Warsaw on Wednesday evening. (PAP)