Polish President expects message of NATO unity at London summit

A message of unity is what Poland’s President Andrzej Duda expects to hear at the December 3-4 NATO Leaders’ Meeting in London, said the head of the President’s Office Krzysztof Szczerski.

“President Andrzej Duda expects a clear message to be voiced at the summit in London – a message that NATO is a united, a living and enduring alliance,” said Mr Szczerski.

The upcoming NATO Leaders’ Meeting is not an official summit, as the official NATO summits take place every two years, thus the next such event is to take place in 2020. The meeting in London is organised to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty.

“The 70th anniversary of the establishment of NATO provides a great opportunity to confirm the currency of the alliance’s commitments and also the fact that we can plan for the coming years in peace because we all are protected by a common defensive alliance,” said the head of the President’s Office.

“A 3-hour-long working session of presidents and the heads of NATO states’ governments will take place,” said Mr Szczerski, adding that President Duda will also take part in an exclusive meeting organised by US President Donald Trump of the heads of those states that contribute 2 percent of their GDP to NATO defence spending.

Mr Szczerski also said that NATO Secretary-General Jensen Stoltenberg and President Duda talked on the phone about the status of the internal Alliance’s relations and the preparations for the summit. According to Mr Szczerski, “we are close to reaching important decisions that might be made in London.”

Asked about French President Emmanuel Macron suggesting that NATO had suffered “brain death” and Turkey’s ultimatum, the official said that “ahead of the summit there are some actions and also media reports aimed at discrediting the Alliance by showing its internal tensions.”

Turkey refused to back the NATO defence plan for Poland and the Baltic States, as the state has not received enough political support from the alliance for its actions against Kurdish militia, the People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, Reuters agency reported in late November.

NATO is seeking formal approval by all 29 member states for the military plan to defend Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the event of a Russian attack. The lack of Turkey’s consent for the plan means more delay in strengthening the alliance’s eastern flank.

The summit proceedings will start on Tuesday and continue through Wednesday.

Other meetings

On the sidelines of his stay in London, along with other heads of NATO states President Duda will attend a reception organised by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. Later on the same day, a working dinner will be organised at UK PM Boris Johnson’s office.

During the time in London, President Duda will also posthumously decorate two WWII pilots who participated in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The Presidential Couple is scheduled to depart to London on Monday evening.