US to station F-16 fighter planes in Poland, says daily

Obama will reportedly confirm this when he visits Poland later this month

During a visit to Warsaw scheduled later in May, US President Barack Obama will confirm that American F-16 fighter jets are due to be stationed in Poland, according to diplomatic sources quoted by Gazeta Wyborcza.

The planes, and accompanying American military personnel, are due to be stationed on a rotational basis from 2013. Mr Obama is also expected to discuss the stationing of SM-3 interceptor missiles in the country, as part of America’s planned missile defense shield.

The news, if it proves accurate, is likely to be well received in Poland. Poles have long wanted a concrete American military presence on their soil, and many were openly disappointed when Mr Obama scrapped his predecessor’s missile shield plans.

However, Russia, which had welcomed plans to abandon the Bush-era missile shield plans, will be less pleased by the reported announcement.

Mr Obama’s trip to Poland is part of a European tour, which will include visits to the UK, Ireland and France, where Mr Obama will attend the G8 Summit.

In Warsaw, the US president is expected to attend part of a May 27-28 meeting between the presidents of Central European states, hosted by Polish President Bronisław Komorowski.

The official schedule for the CEE meeting and a list of heads of state who will attend is due to be made public shortly.

Other topics on the agenda for the Polish-American talks are economic cooperation, including in the exploration and mining of shale gas, and the building of Poland’s first nuclear power plant.

The delicate matter of lifting visas for Poles visiting the US is also expected to be discussed, although Gaztea Wyborcza’s sources stressed that this would not be the central issue of talks, as Mr Obama has already expressed support for their lifting at the earliest possible opportunity.

President Obama is also expected to pay his respects to the late President Lech Kaczyński. He was prevented from attending last year’s state funeral in Kraków because of the eruption of a volcano in Iceland that severely disturbed air traffic in Europe.

by Alice Trudelle

Źródło: Warsaw Business Journal, 10th May 2011
Artykuł dodano w następujących kategoriach: NATO.