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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » June 4, 2014
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Polish and US presidents declare increased defense spending
June 4, 2014   
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US President Barrack Obama and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski
The United States stand by its intention to increase its engagement in Poland's security, US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday in Warsaw, on the first day of his visit to Poland for the 25th anniversary of the first democratic elections after World War II.

The US President will ask the Congress for spending another USD 1 billion on increasing the US military presence in Europe through a higher number of training missions and military exercise, Obama said later on during a joint conference with President Bronislaw Komorowski.

"Today, I'm announcing a new initiative to bolster the support of our NATO allies here in Europe," Obama said. "Under this effort, and with the support of Congress, the United States will preposition more equipment in Europe," he added.

Obama added that the United States intended to increase the number of U.S. personnel and aircraft rotations in Central and Eastern Europe.

Polish President said, in turn, that Poland would work to increase its spending on the armed forces to 2% of GDP (from the current 1.95%), as a measurable gesture of commitment to its own defense but also as encouragement to other NATO member states to follow the same path.

President Obama also said that he had come to Poland to confirm the United States' commitment to Poland's security as an ally within NATO. He added that the missile defense program was being continued and pointed out that the recently deployed air unit was the first regular U.S. military presence in Poland.

President Komorowski also said that he saw his talks with President Obama as confirmation of security guarantees for the Central and Eastern European region.

"It gives me great satisfaction and hope to greet the U.S. president when we are anxiously observing crisis situations across Poland's eastern border, NATO's eastern border and the EU's eastern border - in Ukraine," Komorowski said.

The visit of the US President Brack Obama in Poland for the “25 years of freedom anniversary” is symbolic in the context of the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine, the daily Rzeczpospolita writes. At present, when Poland's western neighbors are more concerned about good relations with Russia than about regional security, it is the role of the United States to be the leader of the western world, the daily adds.

The West should strive to keep good relations with Russia, but at the same time cannot sacrifice basic principles for the benefit of these relations, US President said yesterday.

Obama praised Poland for being a leader in terms of investing in collective security and for showing such excellent leadership in the past few months in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. He added that the United States and Poland would support the Ukrainians in their political and economic reforms as well as supporting dialogue between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists.
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