June 17, 2020 / 8:31 AM / 2 months ago

Polish president may visit U.S. after Trump troop announcement - media

WARSAW (Reuters) - Discussions are under way for a possible visit by Polish President Andrzej Duda to Washington, Polish media reported, as Warsaw looks to boost the U.S. military’s presence in the former communist state.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Poland's President Andrzej Duda hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday the United States would cut the number of its troops in NATO ally Germany by about 9,500. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said he hopes some of the troops will be moved to Poland, which is also a member of the Western military alliance.

“If there is such an official invitation, then there will be such a visit and there will be such a meeting,” Krzysztof Szczerski, an aide to Duda, told Polish radio of the possibility of a visit to Washington.

Poland’s state news agency, PAP, reported that an invitation had been received by Poland on a working level though neither side had confirmed this.

Duda’s spokesman declined comment, referring reporters to Szczerski’s remark.

U.S. ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher praised the state of relations in a video statement for media. Though she did not say whether the Polish president would visit Washington, she said cooperation would “grow and grow” and that Duda and Trump have a “very unique relationship”.

“You will see that more in the future, how they’re working together to make both of our countries safer,” she said.

Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party, is running in a close presidential election on June 28.

On June 12 last year, Trump agreed to send 1,000 more troops to Poland, bolstering its defences against Russia and cementing bilateral ties.

Reuters reported last week that the project was crumbling amid disputes over funding and where to garrison the troops.

The report was denied by some members of Poland’s government and by Mosbacher.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska, Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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