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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Lili Bayer

Poland’s president may meet Donald Trump ‘socially’ in New York

Donald Trump with Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, Poland, in 2017.
Donald Trump with Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, Poland, in 2017. Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

Andrzej Duda, Poland’s conservative president, is expected to meet Donald Trump in New York on Wednesday evening, as some European politicians begin preparing for Trump’s possible return to the White House.

Many mainstream European leaders fear the potential impact of a US that is less engaged on the continent, and less committed to the future of Ukraine.

The potential meeting comes after the far-right Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, visited Trump in March.

“I meet friends who served as president and with whom I managed Polish affairs in the international arena,” Duda said this week before his trip to the US. “If possible, I will also meet socially in New York [with Trump].”

Poland is a close US partner, and Duda and the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, met Joe Biden in the White House last month to discuss security cooperation and the situation in Ukraine.

A person close to Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Duda had chosen to meet Trump “because they used to have good cooperation when Trump was president, because he is one of two serious candidates, but most importantly because relations with the US are critically important for Poland”.

Tusk, a veteran centre-right politician who is well-known on the European stage, returned to power at the helm of a three-way coalition late last year, pledging to undo many of the policies of the previous national-conservative government, which counted Duda as an ally.

While Duda and Tusk clash frequently on domestic politics, their approach to security policy is similar.

“If he actually meets [with Trump], we would expect him to firmly raise the issue of clearly siding with the west and Europe in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict,” Tusk said on Tuesday.

The Polish government has been pleading for the US Congress to approve more assistance for Kyiv.

“Israel’s anti-missile capabilities should be strengthened and similar defences should be sent to Ukraine,” Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister said on Sunday. “Speaker Johnson, please let the House vote on the Israel and Ukraine support bill.”

Tusk has repeatedly underlined the importance of the transatlantic relationship, while also arguing that Europe needs to bolster defence.

“The postwar epoch is gone. We are living in new times: in a prewar epoch,” he cautioned last month. “This is why Nato and solidarity between Europe and America are more important than ever before.”

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