Polish President Andrzej Duda proposed on February 7 for NATO to hold meetings with Georgian and Ukrainian heads of state during the Alliance’s Madrid Summit in June 2022.
Making the announcement after meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Duda stressed that talks with Presidents Salome Zurabishvili and Volodymyr Zelenskyy would demonstrate solidarity with the two countries and that the Alliance is “not leaving them alone.”
“They have always been loyal partners of NATO, and in this regard, the Alliance also remembers them,” the Polish President said, adding that this was one of the important issues today “also for the credibility of the Alliance.”
In this context, he also mentioned his meeting with President Zurabishvili during a stopover in Tbilisi on February 3. President Duda said he learned about her views on the Ukraine crisis as the head of a state that is located to the east of Ukraine as well as considering Georgia’s past experiences.
Also, the Polish President stressed he believes it necessary to increase the Alliance’s presence in the entire NATO’s eastern flank amid Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine and deployments in Belarus. He added that reinforcement would also be needed in southern Europe as well.
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In the joint press conference, President Duda and Secretary-General Stoltenberg also touched upon NATO’s relations with China, which joined Russia in a joint statement on February 4 to express for the first time its opposition to the NATO enlargement and called on the Alliance to “abandon its ideologized cold war approaches.”
President Duda recalled his recent meeting with President Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the Winter Olympics hosted by Beijing and noted that he informed the leader of China about NATO’s point of view, its actions and decisions. He added that informed the NATO Secretary General about the discussion.
Secretary General Stoltenberg on his part stressed that the call by China and Russia on NATO to stop admitting new members “is an attempt to deny sovereign nations the right to make their own choices – a right enshrined in key international documents.”
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