WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States is considering a request from Poland for a permanent U.S. military presence in the fellow NATO country.
Poland has repeatedly requested a permanent U.S. military presence on its soil amid fears of Russian aggression, offering up to $2 billion (1.5 billion pounds) in funding for such a base. U.S. 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 U.S. 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 programme for Poland.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Grant McCool)