Polish president Duda to visit Trump in White House

President Andrzej Duda of Poland is to visit the White House next week for talks with his US counterpart Donald Trump on security, trade and energy.

The visit on June 24, just four days before Poland’s presidential election, in which Mr Duda is running for a second term, comes amid speculation that the US could agree to increase its military presence in Poland further.

Washington and Warsaw struck a deal last year to increase the number of US troops in the central European country by 1,000, and the two sides have since been in negotiations over the final details.

However, earlier this week, Mr Trump confirmed that he intended to cut the US military presence in Germany by around 9,500 to 25,000, and there has been speculation that some could be moved elsewhere in Europe.

A Polish official told the Financial Times that Poland hoped the talks next week would culminate in the US presence in Poland being increased further still but did not say by how much. There are currently 4,500 US troops in Poland serving as part of the Nato contingent on a rotational basis.

The White House said that the visit — the first time Mr Trump has received a foreign president at the White House since the start of the coronavirus pandemic — would focus on “advancing our co-operation on defence, as well as trade, energy, and telecommunications security”.

“The visit comes at a critical time for both the United States and Poland, as we reopen our countries after months of battling the coronavirus pandemic. As close partners and Nato allies, the United States and Poland continue to expand our co-operation across a wide range of issues,” the White House said.

The meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Duda is the 11th time that the pair have met, and is the latest sign of the close ties between Mr Trump’s administration and Poland’s ruling camp.

As well as the deal last year on an increased US presence, Poland has agreed to purchase military equipment from the US, including F-35 fighter jets. The two sides have also agreed to co-operate on 5G technology.

Asked on Tuesday by the Polish state press agency PAP about the prospect of an increased US troop presence in Poland, Mr Duda said: “All I can say is that we have always said that we are open to our allies, and that the Americans are generally well regarded in our country. In this regard, our openness is a kind of offer.”