President Donald Trump held a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House on Wednesday to expand their nation’s centuries-old cooperation in trade, security, energy, defense, and health based on shared values of “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberties and freedoms, and free, fair, and reciprocal trade,” read their joint statement.
Before the meeting, Duda paid tribute to a Polish-American hero who, after dedicating his life assets to freeing slaves, had his statue devastated by riots in May.
Then, both nations during the talks stressed the need to invest in defense and deterrence capabilities, especially toward the security for NATO’s Eastern Flank, which includes Poland, the joint statement said. They both affirmed their commitment to “fair burden-sharing,” which means that each ally should spend 2 percent of its GDP on defense, as agreed to in principle by all NATO members.
Only eight allies and the United States comply with this requirement and Poland is among them, Trump told reporters after the meeting.
US Troops To Moved from Germany to Poland
U.S. soldiers walk alongside M1 Abrahams battle tanks from the U.S. 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, in Bremerhaven, Germany, on Feb. 21, 2020. (David Hecker/Getty Images)
Trump said that some of the American troops that the United States will withdraw from Germany would be relocated to Poland because Poland fulfils its financial obligation to NATO and will pay for these troops. Germany, on the other hand, spends only a little more than 1 percent of its GDP on defense.
Trump welcomed Poland’s long-term contracts with U.S. companies for the purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mentioned establishing a partnership for building nuclear power plants in Poland using American nuclear technology.
Both initiatives will enhance Poland’s energy security and independence.
A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker. (AFP/Getty Images)
Trump also congratulated Poland for its leadership in the Three Seas Initiative, which is designed to “provide a reliable source of energy for Eastern Europe … [so] it will be free from the threat of foreign extortion.”
The initiative also focuses on expanding and modernizing the infrastructure between nations in Central and Eastern Europe, especially along the North-South axis, as well as digital interconnectivity in the region.
Duda said that Poland is going to increase the capacity of its existing LNG regasification terminal and also build a new one. The purpose is not only to provide gas deliveries to Poland but also to countries in Central Europe as many of them are still dependent on Russian gas.
“Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for energy coming from a brand new pipeline,” Trump said last week at his first campaign rally since the pandemic lockdowns.
Trump also told reporters of his talks with Poland: “Our nations have also collaborated on protecting our critical infrastructure and technology. That’s why we’ve signed a 5G joint declaration. And Poland is leading the way in Europe by using trusted providers … provider equipment and supply chains for its 5G network.”
American Investments in Poland
The logo of Google is seen in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 20, 2020. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)
Google will invest up to $2 billion in a data center in Poland to deal with cloud services, the Polish daily newspaper Puls Biznesu announced on Wednesday.
“Region Google Cloud in Warsaw is the biggest investment in the infrastructure of this type in Poland,” Magdalena Dziewguc, Google Cloud’s business development director in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe, told the paper.
“We are getting ready for it to be operational at the beginning of 2021.”
The Microsoft sign is shown on top of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California on October 19, 2018. (Mike Blake/AP-File)
Microsoft announced a month ago a $1 billion dollar investment in Poland that will fund the building a new data center to provide cloud services to businesses and government institutions in Poland.
Microsoft has a nearly 30-year track record of successful cooperation with more than 6,000 Polish local partners, and this investment will create upskilling and learning opportunities for about 150,000 Polish employees, partners, and students, the tech giant said in a statement.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki previously said that his country has ambitions to transform “into a technological hub for the region of Central and Eastern Europe.”
Trump and Duda pledged to continue their cooperation in research efforts of therapeutics and vaccines to combat COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of transparency and information sharing in the prevention of future pandemics, the joint statement from both presidents said.
The United States sent Poland millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) items in addition to millions donated by private businesses and American citizens around the world, senior administration officials said. The Polish Ministry of Defense, in turn, sent a team of doctors to Chicago to treat American patients and “saved countless lives,” officials said.
The leader of this team, Captain Jacek Siewiera, joined both presidents in the White House on Wednesday. Trump thanked the captain and his team for “fighting the coronavirus alongside American doctors.” Siewiera, before coming to Chicago, led a Polish medical mission in Italy to treat COVID-19 patients there.
Polish President Pays Tribute to Polish-American Hero
Duda also took time to lay a wreath at the monument of Thaddeus Kosciuszko in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to pay tribute to the Polish hero who fought in the American Revolution.
The Kosciuszko statue was vandalized by riots that erupted in the United States in May after the death of Black American George Floyd in police custody.
Polish Ambassador to the U.S. Piotr Wilczek said on Twitter, “I am disgusted and appalled by the acts of vandalism committed against the statue of Thaddeus Kosciuszko in D.C., a hero who fought for the independence of both the U.S. and Poland.”
I am disgusted and appalled by the acts of vandalism committed against the statue of Thaddeus Kościuszko in DC, a hero who fought for the independence of both the US and Poland. I implore @WhiteHouse & @NatlParkService to quickly restore the statue to its original state. https://t.co/5VuB33svpp
— Piotr Wilczek 🇵🇱 (@AmbWilczek) June 1, 2020
The monument has been renewed by the United States. Duda thanked Trump for the restoration.
Kosciuszko was a Polish military engineer and military leader who joined America’s fight for independence against the British in the 18th century. He was made a chief engineer of West Point, New York. General George Washington appointed him as a Brigadier General and awarded him with the Cincinnati Order Medal for his achievements.
Kosciuszko bequeathed all of his American assets to buy freedom for enslaved Africans, educate them, and provide them with land so they could support themselves.
Protection of Shared Belief in Family, Faith, Law, Liberty
Trump and Duda expressed their administration’s commitment to protecting the common values shared by the United States and Poland.
“Free, fair, and reciprocal trade has enabled our nations and the world to grow prosperous, has powered innovation and development, and has created millions of jobs. We … commit to jointly fight against abusive trade practices. We will also continue to promote increased trade and investment, especially in modern technologies,” the joint statement read.
Both countries will join their efforts to combat disinformation, especially distortion of historical truths relating to World War II, the joint statement said.
“The American and Polish people have been true friends and trusted partners for almost 250 years. We’re forever united by our shared belief in family, faith, law, liberty, democracy, and justice. As the old polish motto goes, we will stand together in the name of God for our freedom and for yours,” Trump said.
Reuters contributed to this report.