Poland's president-elect wants NATO bases, talks on Ukraine

AP News
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Posted: Aug 05, 2015 12:15 PM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's president-elect, who takes office on Thursday, says he wants to see NATO bases in Poland and will talk to European Union partners about including Poland in Ukraine peace talks.

Andrzej Duda, previously a member of the conservative opposition Law and Justice party, says the ruling Civic Platform hasn't done enough to increase Poland's security and strengthen its international position. He vowed "corrections" in foreign policy, "sometimes deep ones."

Duda said in an interview with the PAP agency Wednesday that he wants next year's NATO summit in Warsaw to reinforce the alliance's presence in Poland and across a region that feels threatened by a resurgent Russia. He said he will raise the issue with Germany, which has previously blocked efforts to place NATO troops in central and eastern Europe, saying it might strain relations with Russia.

The U.S. said recently it will place tanks and some other military equipment — but no troops — in Poland and four other countries in the region.

Duda also said that the participation of Poland and Ukraine's other neighbors is needed in a "wide peace conference" for Ukraine if a lasting peace is to be achieved.

"The aim should be to restore previous borders," Duda said, "because they were the guarantee of European order."

Duda said he will seek to strengthen cooperation between countries "from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic and the Black Sea" to build a group that will promote their interests in the European Union.

One of his first foreign trips as president will be to the U.N. annual session in New York in September. Duda quit as a member of Law and Justice after his May election to emphasize he would be president of all Poles.