During his speech at the Warsaw Security Forum, President Andrzej Duda spoke about the Nord Stream2 gas pipeline, the situation around Afghanistan, military missions conducted by NATO and the European Union, as well as the situation at the border. – In the hands of our opponents there are tools such as disinformation, cyber attacks or interference in electoral processes in our countries – he said.
Warsaw Security Forum is an annual international conference organized by Fundacja im. Casimir Pulaski.
The two-day event is attended by, among others, President Andrzej Duda, head of the Ministry of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak, Jadwiga Emilewicz, head of the National Security Bureau Paweł Soloch, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Péter Szijjártó, leader of the Belarusian opposition Sviatlana Cichanouska, chief of staff of Alexei Navalny’s campaign in the elections in 2018, Leonid Volkov and former Russian politician and associate Navalny Vladimir Milov.
President Andrzej Duda spoke during the WSF.
“The threats and challenges facing the democratic world of the West are more and more complex. It is also a strong argument for deepening our cooperation. Another premise was provided by the pandemic. While struggling with this serious problem, we could feel how much our countries are dependent on each other and how much we are able to achieve by acting together – he said.
“America and Europe must work together”
Duda expressed the conviction that we are able to effectively face the challenges ahead, but we still need to meet a few key conditions, about which – as he said – “we all should remember”.
– First, America and Europe must act together, they must remain a community based on democratic values and the reasons and interests arising from them. The transatlantic bond should remain the strategic basis for the actions of our states, he argued.
The president said that “we need an America politically and militarily engaged in the security of Europe and active in NATO”. According to him, “it is a guarantee that the democratic world will be able to cope with numerous challenges, both at our borders and in remote parts of the globe.”
Duda: We need a strong European Union
In his speech, the president mentioned that “we need a strong European Union, shaping security in our environment to a greater extent than at present, but not competitive with NATO and not duplicating its activities and structures”.
– In this context, the security and defense policy of the European Union should serve to strengthen the defense capabilities of the EU Member States, supporting their coordinated and coherent development – he added.
He emphasized that a strong NATO-European Union partnership is needed, “providing synergy in the efforts of both organizations, in line with the direction set out at the NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016”. – The military mobility project involving both organizations will be one of the biggest tests of this partnership – he said.
Duda also spoke of the need to coherently and consistently develop partnership “with states and nations that share our values and are ready to support us.” He indicated that the role and importance of NATO’s global partners, such as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, was increasing.
– In this context, new initiatives for cooperation with them should make it possible to achieve the goals of the entire transatlantic community. I hope that this will be the case with the recently announced agreement between Australia, Great Britain and the USA – he mentioned.
Andrzej Duda noted that “we must also not forget about the unfinished transformation processes at our borders” in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and the nations where oppressive regimes today take away the right to self-determination, which Belarusians are currently experiencing. and democratic countries of the West is in their and our interests, he stressed, assuring that Poland actively supports the ambitions of these countries, supporting the policy of open doors, both in NATO and in the European Union.
Duda: people trying to cross the border illegally include people who have connections with terrorist organizations
The president also spoke about “new security challenges emerging on the horizon.” He pointed out that the most serious of them is the multidimensional influence of China in the technological, economic, financial and cyberspace fields.
– In addition, there are the so-called new, breakthrough technologies, the acquisition of which by our adversaries may disrupt the existing order. Threats from terrorist groups still remain. In the hands of our opponents, there are tools such as disinformation, cyber attacks or interference in electoral processes in our countries – he mentioned.
Duda stated that “we are currently experiencing hybrid aggression in Poland in the form of attempts to transfer migrants to the territory of the European Union by the Belarusian services”. – We defend the borders of NATO and the European Union with full determination. Today we are sure that among those trying to cross the border illegally, there are people who have connections with terrorist organizations, he said.
President: Russia is a threat to NATO not only from the east
The president pointed to the “classic threats” still present. – They are more and more often combined with new ones and often come from the same source. A good example of this is Russia, which by expanding its military engagement is threatening NATO not only from the east, but also from the north and south. It is accompanied by hybrid actions, which are hitting the stability of our democratic institutions, including even electoral systems – he described.
He explained that in this situation “it is important that we find a comprehensive response to them, so that the Alliance not only improves deterrence and defense, but also increases its and our partners’ resilience to hybrid Russian actions.”
– Let’s remember that China is not the only benchmark in terms of hybrid threats. Therefore, next year’s summit in Madrid should bring comprehensive decisions on adaptation to all these challenges, he said.
“Russia is practicing scenarios of full-scale conflict with NATO”
During the Warsaw Security Forum, the president indicated that all states of the transatlantic community should “seriously treat the obligation to develop their own potential, enshrined in the third article of the Washington Treaty”.
In order to achieve the objectives of this Treaty more effectively, the Parties individually and collectively, through continuous and effective self-help and mutual assistance, shall maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to counter armed attack.
The president noted that the recently completed Russian exercises Zapad-21 “showed that Russia is practicing scenarios of full-scale conflict with NATO, and the territory of Poland, the Baltic states and Belarus is one of the main arenas of confrontation.”
Duda also pointed out that states must be ready to engage in joint actions as part of various types of military missions conducted by NATO and the European Union.
He also assessed that Poland was fulfilling its role as a host country for the forces of other allies present in our country. – I mean eFP (enhanced Forward Presence) and the American presence, for which we have signed an agreement on enhanced defense cooperation. Its implementation will be of great importance for the success of the allied deterrence and defense mission, said Duda.
President: we have to draw conclusions
Duda also pointed out that “we must be able to draw conclusions from the past, also from our mistakes”.
He indicated that “he means Afghanistan, for example.” He stressed that at the beginning of the Afghan mission, the task was to destroy the “safe harbor” for international terrorist organizations in Afghanistan. – We managed to achieve this goal. After September 11, 2001, no terrorist attacks were planned and carried out by cells operating in Afghanistan, he said.
However, according to the president, it was not possible to “effectively support the Afghans in creating a modern democratic state”.
– We cannot make both the mere assessment of the Afghan mission and the look at the future of this country divide us. We need to draw conclusions to better assess where and how to engage in stabilization activities in the future, so that they are effective and bring long-term positive results, especially in the field of world peace, he said.
Nord Stream 2 “should not be built”
The second example mentioned by the president is Nord Stream 2. – This gas pipeline should not have been built, it is a mistake of strategic importance for the entire transatlantic community. It is not only about the possibility of Russia cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine and Slovakia or bypassing Poland. It is about something more, about giving the Russians the opportunity to strategically blackmail our entire community, blackmail that goes far beyond energy issues, he argued.
In his opinion, “reflection is needed today in the European Union and NATO on how to meet the political, energy and military threats and challenges that Nord Stream 2 may bring”. – It is also a place to take up this topic at the forum of the Three Seas Initiative – he added.
Main photo source: PAP / Mateusz Marek