Pompeo meets Polish leaders, signs defence pact, discusses Belarus

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak pose for a picture after they signed the US-Poland Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland August
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak pose for a picture after they signed the US-Poland Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland August

WARSAW, Aug 15 — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw today where the two discussed a new defence agreement and their support for the people of Belarus.

Pompeo and Morawiecki also discussed the Covid-19 pandemic, securing 5G networks and a new bilateral agreement to cooperate in the development of Poland’s civil nuclear power program, a State Department spokeswoman said.

The defence pact, agreed last month, will see the number of US troops in Poland rise to at least 5,500. It will cost Poland around 500 million zlotys (RM565 million) more per year.

The deal also involves the development of expertise for Polish forces in the areas of reconnaissance and command, with the possibility of more US forces coming to Poland in case of an increased threat.

Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak was quoted by state news agency PAP as saying the country would be able to quickly increase the number of US troops to 20,000 if needed.

Pompeo’s visit to Warsaw comes after stops in the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia as part of a regional trip focused on cyber and energy security.

Pompeo also discussed the situation in Belarus, which faces new EU sanctions over a disputed election last Sunday.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Belarus for a sixth consecutive day yesterday demanding that Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko step down. — Reuters

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