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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

President: Thank you very much for your presence

President Andrzej Duda

Excellency, Highly Esteemed Mr. Vice President of the United States and Madam Second Lady,
Honourable Minister of National Defence,
Dear Ministers,
Dear Generals,

Servicemen and Women of the United States Army and of the Polish Armed Forces,
All Distinguished Guests!

I am delighted that the visit of the Vice President of the United States together with his delegation to Poland begins with this important and symbolic event: with the signing of the agreement which provides for the purchase of artillery rocket system HIMARS - a modern American system that will greatly strengthen not only Poland's defence potential and the combat capabilities of the Polish army, but will also contribute to strengthening the security of our part of Europe and also the Eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance: NATO.

This is an important event, in line with the long announced and prepared programme of modernization of the Polish armed forces. It involves the exchange of military equipment to procure modern one, meeting modern standards binding for NATO countries’ armed forces. The HIMARS artillery rocket system, which will be purchased for the Polish army, is the achievement of the state-of-the-art military technical and defense thought Moreover, something that I would like to emphasize very strongly, it is military equipment, military infrastructure tried out in combat conditions, which is extremely important. I am delighted that the Polish armed forces, Polish servicemen will be able to defend their homeland and the free world using such a modern weapon.

This first stage of procurement, which will be realized in 2023, entails the purchase of 20 sets of artillery rocket system HIMARS: 18 combat sets and two test ones. In the meantime, Polish soldiers will also prepare to operate this extremely modern equipment. I believe that we will be ready on time in all respects, and that this equipment will serve the Polish army perfectly well, while also strengthening safety of our soldiers. I believe that a Polish servicemen will be able to protect the Polish border and the border of the North Atlantic Alliance with a sense of pride, knowing that they have the best possible equipment in the world. This is extremely important.

I also believe that we will continue to develop our military potential: that following the purchase of the Patriot system, this is the next stage in the development of our defence. I believe that we will carry out further purchases, and that we will buy new, very important components of weaponry, which really translate to the modernization and infrastructural renewal of our army. I am thinking here of helicopters, of more aircraft - both combat and transportation aircraft,  I am thinking about everything that is so important in a modern battlefield, that enhances efficiency in service and creates real possibility of defending a territory.

Above all, however, I would like to emphasise one element: you are here, on Polish soil, together – men and women in uniform of the Polish Armed Forbes and of the United States Army - the North Atlantic Alliance forces. Thank you very much for your presence. This presence literally illustrates the excellent quality of our Polish-American alliance, our cooperation in the field of defence, and the presence of the Vice President speaks volumes about the excellent quality of our political cooperation.

I believe that this visit will also translate, Mr Vice President, into economic effects and will serve the deepening of our political ties; first, with Poland, but secondly, also with Central Europe as a whole, the region which we have talked about so often recently, which is so important and which has been stressed by US President Donald Trump.

Once again, I would like to express my sincere thanks and congratulations to Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of National Defence, for having completed these negotiations and for the fact that in a moment he will be able to sign the agreement which has already been initialled by the United States. I am delighted that this extremely important purchase - the next stage of modernization of the Polish army - will be completed.

We still have a lot of purchases ahead of us. We are increasing our defence budget. By 2030 at the latest, it is expected to increase to 2.5% of GDP - this is how we adopted the law and we will implement this plan. I am pleased and proud to say, Minister, that we are a credible member of the Alliance, who is fulfilling its commitments, and we can talk with our head held high to the largest and strongest country in the North Atlantic Alliance, the United States. We can talk as a credible and serious partner that fulfils its commitments.

Thank you. God Bless Poland, God Bless America!

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