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Polish defence minister to talk ‘Fort Trump’ in US

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Staff Writer | November 14, 2018
Poland's defence minister was on Tuesday expected to start a two-day visit to Washington for more talks on a plan for a permanent US army base in his country.
Mariusz Błaszczak
Europe   Mariusz Błaszczak
While in the US capital, Mariusz Błaszczak was scheduled to sit down for talks with officials including Defence Secretary James Mattis, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

During his previous trip to Washington at the end of last month, Błaszczak held talks with President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton as part of a flurry of efforts by the government in Warsaw to have more US troops stationed in Poland amid fears of Russian aggression.

Błaszczak said at the time that he “was told there is support” for a new permanent American army base in Poland.

Błaszczak told reporters he was optimistic about talks on setting up what officials and the media have dubbed “Fort Trump” in Poland.

Poland already hosts US troops on a rotating basis as part of NATO, and the Polish section of a US missile defence shield over Europe is being built by the Americans at Redzikowo in the north of the country.

Senior Polish parliamentarian Adam Bielan said last month that a decision on a possible new permanent US troop presence in Poland was likely to be made next year.

Błażej Spychalski, a spokesman for Polish President Andrzej Duda, said at the end of September that Warsaw wanted to spend about USD 2 billion to build infrastructure for American soldiers in Poland, including housing, educational and medical facilities.

Amid fears of Russian aggression following Moscow's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014, NATO decided at a Warsaw summit in July 2016 to deploy four rotating multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states.