We strengthen defence cooperation in our region
Minister Mariusz Błaszczak summed up the results of talks and meetings with representatives of the American administration and with his European and Canadian counterparts:
- We talked with Patrick Shanahan, acting US Secretary of Defence on our priorities. Especially about the project that we have been running for over a year. We are on the right track to increase the presence of the US Army in Poland. We're talking about details. I had the opportunity to talk with Senator Inhofe and five other senators from the US Senate defence committee. I am grateful to Senator Inhofe that he decided to talk in such a wide circle. I presented our point of view, threats and ways to counteract them. Everything was very well received - said Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
The Minister talked, among others about strengthening Polish - US military cooperation and expressed appreciation for the initiative of Senator Inhofe to apply to the Pentagon regarding the evaluation of the "Fort Trump" project. He also provided information that Poland wants to strengthen relations with the US for the security of Poland, but also for the entire eastern flank of NATO.
- I am talking with both Republicans who have the majority in the US Senate, I am talking with Democrats who have the majority in the House of Representatives and the arguments are clear - Minister Blaszczak said.
The Minister also recalled the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Bemowo Piskie, during the conference on the situation in the Middle East:
- Please pay attention to the words of the secretary Pompeo during his visit to Poland. He talked about Russia, which threatens security in Europe and in the world. We need to find an answer how to minimize this threat. There is a concrete offer made by Poland, we talk about details. In my opinion, we are on the right track to achieve success. Yesterday's talk with Patrick Shanhan, US Secretary of Defence, proves this.
The head of the National Defence Ministry took part in a working breakfast, at the invitation of the former US Secretary of Defence William Cohen, currently secretary of the Cohen Group. It was dedicated to threats to European security from Russia, the situation in the Middle East and the challenges for NATO in 2019. The breakfast was also attended by Patrick Shanahan, US Secretary of Defence and US general Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
The minister then met for bilateral conversation with William Cohen. Referring to the 20th anniversary of Poland's accession to NATO in 1999, when William Cohen was Secretary of Defence in the US government, the minister underlined:
- I referred to the presidency of Ronald Reagan (...) how important his approach to the European security was - then the “empire of evil” fell. I have talked about the fact that currently the policy applied by the administration of President Trump will guarantee security for Poland and all of Europe.
On the second day of the conference, during the meeting with Jussi Niinistö Minister of Defence of Finland, the head of the National Defence Ministry drew attention to Finnish experience in building the territorial defence of the country:
- We also talked with the Minister of Defence of Finland about cooperation in the field of territorial defence. Finland's achievements are impressive in this respect and I would like to transfer this model of development of territorial defence forces to Poland - emphasized the head of the National Defence Ministry. The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss security in the region of the Baltic Sea and in eastern and northern Europe.
The main topic of the conversation between Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and his Canadian counterpart Harjit Sajjan was cooperation for security and ongoing joint projects, such as NATO's battle groups in Poland and the Baltic States. Poland under the "eFP" flag supports the Latvian allies taking part in the battle group commanded by Canadians.
One of the potential threats to the security of Europe, which was discussed during Minister Marek Błaszczyk's meetings, was the topic of Nord Stream 2:
- I talked to all partners. We agree that this is a security threat not only for Poland, Ukraine, but also for whole Europe. During the meeting with US senators, I turned their attention to the fact that the money that Russia gains from the sale of gas and making Europe dependent, Russia primarily spends on the armaments. This is a paradoxical situation in which Russia is arming itself spending money from western European countries and we have to seek answers to Russian reinforcements by strengthening relations within NATO. This paradox is read by American senators.
The head of the Defence Ministry stressed:
- In our opinion, Nord Stream 2, the US vice president Mike Pence in Warsaw mentioned it as well, is not an economic, but a political project. We need to answer the question of whether we care about security? Poland definitely does, and after my talks with US representatives, I can say that the United States does too - summed up Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.