President: Poland can be a security hub for the region
I would like the NATO forces' presence in Poland to be increased. Poland - due to its position - can be a sort of security hub, from where security can be distributed, President Andrzej Duda said in the Slovakian city of Kosice on Thursday.
On Thursday, Kosice hosted a summit of the presidents of the Bucharest Nine, or the countries of NATO's eastern flank: Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also took part in the event.
In the view of President Andrzej Duda, the summit was "a kind of demonstration of unity, cooperation in this part of Europe, and solidarity."
"We are together, we are talking, we create a whole, and together we're building our real security," Andrzej Duda told a press conference.
"It's visible that we're a certain whole, it's visible that we're mutually open to each other, and above all we're open to the common needs and that is today the essence of cooperation," the president stated. "As long as we are together, we are strong. It is our community that guarantees security and I am hugely pleased that once again today we have demonstrated that."
Duda drew attention to the fact that Stoltenberg had participated in the summit and the subjects raised in the talks included the war in Ukraine, the situation on the Black Sea and the situation of the Baltic States and in the Baltic Sea, among other issues.
"I want to emphasise very strongly that there was no discrepancy of opinions between us today, when it comes to assessing the situation. We agree perfectly on what the real threat is today, when it comes to military security in our part of Europe," President Duda underscored. "We agreed that really the most important problem here today is the return of Russia's imperial ambitions, which are ongoing and a fact and against which we must react in a responsible way," he added.
The Polish president elaborated that during the meeting he had talked about the need to strengthen the Alliance's presence in the region of the Black Sea, that "there is a need to show our readiness to defend there and that that is certainly an element we should raise today and which the North Atlantic Alliance as a whole should very seriously consider."
Andrzej Duda went on to say he would like the NATO presence in this part of Europe increased, and that the remaining B9 countries agree. "I would like the Alliance forces' presence in Poland to be increased, I thought here about the presence of the US army because I believe that Poland - due to its surface area and its position - can be a sort of security hub from where security can be distributed," he explained.
Asked how real the Russian threat is, President Duda replied that events in Georgia in 2008 and the situation in Ukraine are proof of the existence of a threat. Asked about the spread of NATO, Duda answered that the Alliance should maintain an open-door policy.
"I talked about it, not just me, in the context of Northern Macedonia, we talked about it also in the context of the future of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, because I believe that the Alliance should have its doors open to those countries, because that encourages cooperation, reform in (those) countries and that should be our policy, that we should carry security as widely as possible." (PAP)