Trump says US considering permanent military presence in Poland

Reuters , Tuesday 18 Sep 2018

Andrzej Duda, Donald Trump
Polish President Andrzej Duda (L) and US President Donald Trump speak to the media in the Oval office at the White House on September 18, 2018 in Washington (Photo: AFP)

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States is considering a request from Poland for a permanent US military presence in the fellow NATO country.

Poland has repeatedly requested a permanent US military presence on its soil amid fears of Russian aggression, offering up to $2 billion in funding for such a base. US soldiers are now present on its soil through NATO's back-to-back rotation.

Russia expressed concern in May over reports about Poland's request, saying NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders undermined stability in Europe.

"Poland is willing to make a very major contribution to the United States to come in and have a presence in Poland, and certainly it's something we'll discuss," Trump said at the White House before a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

"We're looking at it very seriously, I know Poland likes the idea very much, and it's something that we are considering, yes," he said.

Poland joined NATO in 1999 along with Hungary and the Czech Republic, and since then other former communist states, including Baltic republics bordering Russia, have joined despite Moscow’s strong opposition.

Warsaw could offer up to $2 billion in funding for a US military base, according to a Polish Defense Ministry proposal reported by Polish media. A government source in Poland confirmed to Reuters that such a proposal had been made.

Trump also said the United States was considering a visa waiver program for Poland.

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