NATO must ‘show character’ in talks with Russia: Polish president
Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Monday after meeting his Bulgarian counterpart in Sofia that NATO must “show character” during upcoming talks with Russia and insist that international law must be observed.
Andrzej Duda (right) and Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (left). Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk
Speaking ahead of a NATO-Russia Council meeting at ambassadorial level on Wednesday, Duda said Russia should not be isolated. But he reiterated Polish calls for NATO to strengthen its presence in Central and Eastern Europe.
“It’s good that NATO-Russia talks are being held, but in the course of these talks we should show character. The North Atlantic Alliance should show it is steadfast in its principles when it comes to observing international law, security, peace and order internationally," Duda said.
The Polish president said that recent manoeuvres by Russian fighter jets over the Baltic Sea – which have been condemned by Polish and US officials – show that "Russia is testing whether the Alliance is weak and afraid, or whether it is strong and unflinching, standing in defence of the territory of countries in the alliance."
The NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels on 20 April will be the first the alliance holds with Russia in almost two years, NATO has noted. Topics on the agenda will include the Ukrainian crisis and the reduction of military risks.
In his talks in Sofia on Monday with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Duda discussed the July NATO summit in Warsaw, bilateral and regional cooperation, and the migration crisis buffeting Europe. (pk)