“The security of Poland and of this part of Europe in the 21st century hinges on support from and presence of the United States,” said defense minister Tomasz Siemoniak after talks with visiting US secretary of defense Chuck Hagel Thursday.
The two ministers focused on bilateral military cooperation and partner-like relations in the field of security.
Siemoniak recalled after the meeting that Hagel came to Warsaw in the year of the 25th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland and of 15th anniversary of Poland’s membership in NATO.
He also recalled that 32 years ago the then US President Ronald Reagan named January 30 as Solidarity Day. “Today we need that Solidarity as allies and we believe that active presence of the US in Europe ensures security, development and democracy at our continent.
“Strong North Atlantic Alliance based on strong United States and Europe that has to do more for its security is an expression of that solidarity,” Siemoniak declared.
During the talks Thursday “we highly assessed the state of our existing military cooperation. First of all – brotherhood of arms in Afghanistan based on acting hand in hand by our soldiers. But also – common exercises of Air Force with participation of US soldiers permanently present in Poland within Aviation Detachment,” he went on.
Chuck Hagel said after the talks that the US is involved in Poland’s defences (…) Our countries will continue cooperation in air force exercises (…) The US and Poland share the common objective of international security. Our alliance will keep on developing. It will be strong, firm and effective.
He assured that the US was still firmly committed to deploy elements of the anti-missile shield in Poland. We expect that to happen during the third stage of implementing the European part of the anti-missile system in 2018, he said.
The talks with Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski covered Polish-US military cooperation, cooperation within NATO, the situation in Afghanistan and in the Middle East.
Sikorski told Hagel that Poland appreciated the presence of a US Air Force sub-unit in Lask and Polish-US cooperation in Afghanistan. The US secretary of defence underlined Poland’s active role in NATO and spoke highly about Polish soldiers on the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.
The two politicians also discussed preparations for a September NATO summit in Great Britain and the latest developments in Syria. Poland fully supports international efforts aimed at the liquidation of Syria’s chemical arsenal, in which it is engaged personally and financially, Sikorski told Hagel.
Hagel’s agenda also foresees meetings with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and PM Donald Tusk. The US guest will lay a symbolic wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes Memorial, he will also visit an air force base in Powidz near Poznan in west Poland. During the private leg he will visit the locality of Dabrowka Koscielna in western Poland from where his great-grandparent left for the United States at the end of the 19th century. (PAP)