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Thursday, 8 May 2014

President: NATO territory defence a top priority

  |   Polish president with NATO Secretary General Polish president with NATO Secretary General Polish president with NATO Secretary General Polish president with NATO Secretary General Polish president with NATO Secretary General

Poland will strive to make NATO fully return to joint defence, President Bronislaw Komorowski said Thursday after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Warsaw on Thursday.


The Polish president thanked the NATO chief "for the firm moves for an appropriate reaction" of the alliance to the Ukrainian crisis.

President Komorowski said Poland wanted to jointly work on the future shape of NATO. According to Komorowski, the forthcoming NATO summit in Wales should sum up the Afghan mission and debate what the alliance should look like in connection with the recent developments beyond Poland's eastern borders.

"This is not incompatible with NATO's ability to operate outside the alliance territory. I am speaking about proportions and actions which should make the ability to defend NATO member states' territory a top priority for the alliance," President Komorowski said

President Komorowski added that during the summit Poland would also stress the need to more often update NATO contingency plans and shape the alliance to be able to perform its defence operations.

The president pointed out that Poland spent 1.95 percent of GDP on defence and stressed that this figure was very close to the 2 percent recommended by NATO.

"Poland will do its best to keep defence spending at this level or even to increase the outlays. I will discuss this with the government," the president declared.

"I hope that together we will manage to convince other NATO countries to increase their defence spending as one should remember that recently Russia spent more on its armed forces while many NATO states reduced their outlays," Komorowski said.

According to Rasmussen, the NATO summit in Newport should decide what steps are to be taken in the face of the Ukrainian crisis.

The NATO chief praised the "Steadfast Jazz" exercises in 2013 in Poland and the Baltics and added that in the light of the current situation one could say that "they were held in the right place at the right time".

Rasmussen declared that collective defence was the fundamental task for NATO and that the allied obligations would be "as solid as a rock".

The NATO chief promised that NATO would continue to strengthen security of its members from the Baltic to the Black Sea by holding exercises, deploying troops and preparing defence plans.

Rasmussen thanked Poland for its work in NATO and contribution to the Afghan and Kosovo missions. He also stressed that now the allince should adjust collective defence to the new situation. "The Russian aggression on Ukraine undermines the foundations of peace and stability we were building in Europe," he stressed. (PAP)

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