US commitment to Poland’s security ‘unwavering’: US Ambassador

US Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher (bottom right) praised Polish-American cooperation, with Investment Minister Jerzy Kwieciński (bottom left) pointing out the inconveniences caused by the visa regime. Photo: Twitter/USEmbassyWarsaw

US Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher stated that her nation’s commitment to Poland’s security was “unwavering”, adding that both military and economic security remain a crucial aspect of Polish-American relations.

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Ms Mosbacher, who attended the opening session of the Polish-American Congress in the city of Lublin, eastern Poland, declared that “our common history has showed that both Poles and Americans must value their security highly,” adding that recent aggressive action by Russia proved that neither of the two countries could “rest on its laurels” when it comes to security.

In 2014, Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula, still formally forming part of Ukraine, and sparked a conflict in the Donbass region of the country. These acts of aggression, as well as the numerous elaborate war games held near NATO’s eastern borders, have put Poland and its neighbours on high alert and led to the increase of the NATO presence on its eastern flank. Poland’s President has recently revived the debate concerning the possible permanent US military base in Poland by pitching the idea of “Fort Trump” during his Washington visit a few weeks ago.

Giving her assurances that she would personally work towards enhancing the “unwavering” Polish-American security cooperation, the US Ambassador also stressed that in this day and age, economic security mattered just as much as defensive capacity in military terms. One of the ways to lay out a “road map” for future development of economic relations was by “freeing up human potential through economic activity, innovation and entrepreneurship,” Ms Mosbacher added.

The US Ambassador also took part in a tour of the city of Lublin and its historical monuments. Photo: Twitter/USEmbassyWarsaw

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Visa regime still a stumbling block

While the relations between Poland and the US have arguably never been better, certain issues still remain, one of which was brought up by Poland’s Investment and Development Minister Jerzy Kwieciński.

Mr Kwieciński referred to the US visa regime, calling it “inconvenient” and arguing that it forms a major stumbling block in the otherwise “close and lively” relations between the two countries.

Stressing that the US has the world’s biggest population of Polish citizens outside Poland at more than 10 million, the Investment Minister said that it was “unjust” that Poles still had to endure waiting in lines and filing applications in order to travel to the US to visit their family or friends, especially since many other EU countries were already enjoying visa-free travel arrangements. He also added that the existence of the visa regime hampered the growing business relations between Poland and the US.

The Polish-American Congress, the overarching theme of which this year is the centenary of relations between Poland and the United States, is an event intended to facilitate the exchange of experiences between participants from the two countries, featuring numerous guests from the worlds of business, academia and culture from Poland and the US. The Congress is organised by the John Paul II Catholic University in Lublin and the Lubelskie Province authority.