President: US army in Poland negotiations ‘very advanced’

“Talks on the presence of additional US armed forces in Poland are already very advanced,” Polish president Andrzej Duda told journalists while returning from Brussels.

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He also said that he had spoken with US president Donald Trump regarding further purchase of equipment for the Polish army.

President Duda gave a press briefing on board of the presidential plane on the way back from the NATO Summit which finished on Thursday in Brussels. The two-day meeting of heads of state was dominated by issues surrounding defense expenses. President Trump put pressure on his European allies, in particular Germany, to increase their defense budget to 2 percent of GDP, with the aim of further increasing it to 4 percent.

“President Trump said very clearly that the US has for years borne a burden disproportional to how it should be, that the costs borne by [NATO] member states up to this point had been outrageously low,” President Duda said, adding that “it’s difficult not to agree with him.”

Only five NATO states met the 2 percent target last year: the US, Greece, Estonia, the UK and Latvia. Poland had budgeted for slightly in excess of 2 percent GDP but as a result of rapid economic growth outstripping budgetary forecasts, it spent 1.99 percent of its GDP on defense.

Presidents Duda and Trump spoke twice on Wednesday, during the first day of the Summit. They discussed a possible increased American military presence in Poland.

“It is obvious to me that President [Trump] attaches a great deal of importance to this issue,” President Duda said. “I immediately told him that we do not just want the American army with us, but that we are ready to prepare the infrastructure … for them.”

In the president’s opinion, the proposition was very well received by the US head of state.

The presidents also discussed purchasing further equipment, including Tomahawk missiles, for the Polish army. According to president Duda, the topic was “met with the favor not only of president Trump, but also of his administration.”