TRUMP VIS­ITS POLAND ahead of sum­mit.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - DARLENE SUPERVILLE AND KEN THOMAS

WAR­SAW, Poland — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump opened his two-na­tion Euro­pean visit Wed­nes­day with what he ex­pects to be a short but warm stop in Poland be­fore he en­coun­ters thornier is­sues at the Group of 20 sum­mit in Ger­many.

Trump ar­rived in War­saw late Wed­nes­day for a 16-hour visit that in­cludes a key­note ad­dress to the Poles from Krasin­ski Square, site of a mon­u­ment com­mem­o­rat­ing the 1944 War­saw Up­ris­ing against the Nazis. Scores of peo­ple who lined dark­ened roads waved Amer­i­can and Pol­ish flags and recorded video of Trump’s mo­tor­cade as it sped him and his wife, Me­la­nia, to their ho­tel.

Trump has sched­uled talks with the lead­ers of Poland and Croa­tia and may hold a joint news con­fer­ence — his first one abroad — with Pol­ish Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda. He also was meet­ing with the heads of a dozen coun­tries bor­dered by the Baltic, Adri­atic and Black seas. Col­lec­tively known as the Three Seas Ini­tia­tive, the group aims to ex­pand and mod­ern­ize en­ergy and trade with a goal of re­duc­ing the re­gion’s de­pen­dence on Rus­sian en­ergy.

Duda told Pol­ish broad­caster TVN24 on Wed­nes­day that he wants to tackle con­crete is­sues like en­ergy se­cu­rity in the meet­ing with Trump, rather than en­gag­ing in “some gen­eral talk about world se­cu­rity.”

Trump’s re­turn to Europe fol­lows a shaky in­au­gu­ral visit in late May.

Trump’s ear­lier visit was marred by sev­eral awk­ward en­coun­ters, in­clud­ing a speech to NATO mem­bers urg­ing them to spend more on their armed forces, an un­com­fort­able hand­shake with France’s new pres­i­dent and a caught-on-cam­era mo­ment when Trump pushed past the prime min­is­ter of Mon­tene­gro be­fore a group photo.

Poland may of­fer him a chance to shine.

Pol­ish me­dia re­ports say the govern­ment promised the White House cheer­ing crowds as part of its in­vi­ta­tion. Rul­ing party law­mak­ers and pro-govern­ment ac­tivists plan to trans­port groups of peo­ple in buses for Trump’s speech. The White House didn’t re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on the re­ports.

Law and Jus­tice Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczyn­ski played up the sig­nif­i­cance of Trump’s visit ahead of the G-20 sum­mit and bragged that it has made Poland the “envy” of other na­tions such as Great Bri­tain, which has yet to play host to the U.S. pres­i­dent.

“We have new suc­cess, Trump’s visit,” Kaczyn­ski said over the week­end.

Trump may also seek to use Poland as an ex­em­plar of part­ner­ship. A U.S. ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, Poland is among the five NATO mem­bers that spend at least 2 per­cent of their gross do­mes­tic prod­uct on the mil­i­tary. That’s some­thing that Trump — and U.S. lead­ers be­fore him — have de­manded of NATO al­lies.

Poland hosts a few thou­sand U.S. troops, in ad­di­tion to sup­port­ing U.S. and NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s also a reg­u­lar pur­chaser of U.S. mil­i­tary equip­ment.

The Pol­ish govern­ment has em­pha­sized that Rus­sia’s ag­gres­sion in Ukraine poses a threat to the whole of Europe, some­thing that will likely be raised in dis­cus­sions with Trump as Euro­peans aim to gauge his will­ing­ness to con­front Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin when they meet face to face on Fri­day.

Na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser H.R. McMaster said in a brief­ing ahead of the trip that Trump will “lay out a vi­sion, not only for Amer­ica’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with Europe, but the fu­ture of our transat­lantic al­liance and what that means for Amer­i­can se­cu­rity and Amer­i­can pros­per­ity.” In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Vivian Salama of The As­so­ci­ated Press and Abby Phillip of The Wash­ing­ton Post.

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