Poland, US working to fulfil presidential agreements - MoD

2020-07-14 19:40 update: 2020-07-15, 13:36
Ryan McCarthy and Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo PAP/Andrzej Lange
Ryan McCarthy and Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo PAP/Andrzej Lange
Through co-operation, Poland and the United States have been implementing the agreements signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Donald Trump, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Tuesday after a meeting with the US Army secretary.

US Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy met with Blaszczak at the Defence Ministry in Warsaw on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference after the talks, Blaszczak stressed the importance of McCarthy's visit. "I thanked the secretary for keeping the US troops in Poland during the (coronavirus - PAP) pandemic, for going ahead with the Defender-Europe 20 exercises. It was a great challenge for all of us. The exercise proved to be successful" he said.

Blaszczak said a second phase of the exercise was starting on Tuesday, one that involves a deployment of US troops to Poland. "These are very important experiences, most beneficial for the security of Poland and the whole eastern flank of NATO," he said.

Under the Emergency Deployment Readiness operation, some 500 soldiers from US armoured forces that have been deployed to Europe will hold exercises at a Polish military range in Drawsko Pomorskie.

"I'm very pleased that through our cooperation we have been implementing the agreements concluded between presidents Donald Trump and Andrzej Duda, agreements concerning an increased presence of US troops in Poland," Blaszczak said.

Blaszczak observed that under those agreements Poland is hosting a US division headquarters, with a US general in command, and the US military presence in Poland considered permanent. "It's good for the security of Poland, it is good for the security of the whole eastern flank of NATO," the minister said.

Under the agreements signed last year by Duda and Trump, the United States undertook to increase the number of its troops stationed in Poland by 1,000 to 5,500. According to the declaration, the two countries have also determined locations for the enhanced US military presence in Poland.

Blaszczak expressed satisfaction with Poland having been admitted to the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. "Thanks to this mechanism we are strengthening the defence capabilities of the Polish Armed Forces," he said.

McCarthy said that the Polish-US military cooperation, partnership and involvement in NATO strengthen regional security. He expressed hope that further bilateral agreements will be signed soon.

McCarthy called Poland's contribution to NATO's enhanced forward presence on the bloc's eastern flank a clear signal that NATO allies are united and determined to defend NATO and its whole territory.

The US defence official also congratulated Polish President Andrzej Duda on his reelection.

On Wednesday, McCarthy will visit US soldiers stationed in Poznan, western Poland, the site of the US division headquarters.

McCarthy has been in office since September 2019. He is a civilian official reporting to the secretary of defence. (PAP)