Trump hosts joint news conference with Poland president

Minnie Murray
September 19, 2018

Polish President Andrzej Duda urged his United States counterpart to send more troops to his country in light of Russia's recent military aggression in Ukraine.

Trump and Duda also expressed shared concerns about Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which they said could make Europe overly reliant on Moscow for energy and expose it to the risks of what Duda called "political blackmail" with shipments.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis praised Poland for taking a lead in increasing its military spending, but stressed that no decisions had been made regarding a permanent United States troop presence.

Trump said it was a sad situation but lauded the United States' work in Syria.

Duda offered to call the base or bases "Fort Trump", likely playing to the president's tendency to incorporate his family name into buildings he's built, such as Trump Tower in NY and Trump International in Washington.

Currently, 3,000 US troops are deployed on a rotating basis in Poland, according to The Associated Press, a total which the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally is pressing the United States to increase.

Trump, who looked annoyed at times by Duda's long answers, jumped in at one point to note that Poland has promised to pay "billions of dollars for a base".

Duda's praise of Trump is in line with Warsaw's stance on mutual defense, which has stood apart from other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states in their sometimes contentious dealings with the USA administration.

Duda noted Polish purchases of American arms and said he wants to buy more.

I was smiling when talking to... The U.S. president is renewing his criticism of a planned new natural gas pipeline linking Germany with Russian Federation. Duda credited Trump for making Warsaw the first stop on the USA president's inaugural European trip previous year and said Trump's speech was a "very important moment" for the relationship between the two countries.

"We believe that the presence of the United States is a guarantor of security in our part of Europe", Duda said. "I think Russian Federation has acted aggressively".

Within the USA military and among security analysts, there is a long-running debate over the merits of building up forces in Poland.

"They respect force. They respect strength as anyone does".

Meeting Duda earlier in the Oval Office, Trump said Poland's request was under consideration.

Poland, which is a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation since 1999, has been taking a very active part in the recent military activities of the alliance, described as an attempt to counter "hostile" Russian moves.

"We are the piggy bank to the world".

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