US President Donald Trump is to argue that the future of Western civilisation is at stake in a keynote speech in the Polish capital Warsaw.
Holding up Poland as an example of a country ready to defend Western freedoms, he will warn against the threats of “terrorism and extremism”.
Poland’s conservative government shares Mr Trump’s hostile view of immigration and strong sense of sovereignty.
Mr Trump is in Poland ahead of a G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
“Because as the Polish experience reminds us – the defence of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail,” Mr Trump will say, according to excerpts released from the speech.
“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”
What else will Trump say in the speech?
Appearing on a stage at the monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising on Warsaw’s historic Krasinski Square, Mr Trump will also reaffirm US support for Eastern Europe ahead of his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg, the BBC’s James Landale in Warsaw reports.
Mr Putin called for an end to sanctions against Russia as well as trade protectionism in an editorial published in German newspaper Handelsblatt.
In another part of his speech, Mr Trump will also make a strong attack on red tape, condemning “the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people”.
Giving a news conference hours before the speech, Mr Trump:
- Called on countries to demonstrate to North Korea that there were consequences for its “very bad behaviour” and said “something will have to be done about it”
- Said America’s “strong alliance with Poland and Nato” remained “critical to deterring conflict”
- Accused Russia of “destabilising behaviour” but, when asked if Russia had meddled in the US presidential election, replied, “Nobody really knows for sure”
- Said in reference to Syria that “any nation which values human life can never tolerate the use of chemical weapons”
American gas for Europe?
Mr Trump gave the news conference at Warsaw’s Royal Castle alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda after attending a summit of 12 nations with interests in the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black Sea – the “Three Seas” summit.
The Polish government is trying to become less energy-dependent on Russia, and last month the first ever US liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment arrived.
Commending American LNG, Mr Trump told the news conference: “You can never be held hostage to a single supplier.”
A global glut in supply, however, has depressed prices and made it difficult for LNG exporters to turn a profit, Adam Sieminski, an energy analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
Warsaw and three Baltic states have spoken against the construction of an offshore Russian gas pipeline to Germany, known as Nord Stream 2.
How big is Trump’s visit for Poland?
Disappointingly perhaps for Mr Trump and his Polish hosts only a small crowd turned out in the sunshine to greet him at the Royal Castle, the BBC’s Adam Easton reports.
He entered through the back door so those that did come did not even catch a glimpse of him.
Mr Duda said earlier that Mr Trump’s visit showed Poland was a “country that matters”.
Poland has been at odds with some other EU states over its refusal to accept refugees under a 2015 solidarity plan.
A warm reception in Warsaw may benefit Mr Trump’s image with Americans after his earlier visit to Europe in May, Piotr Buras of the European Council on Foreign Relations, told AFP news agency.
“After his disastrous trip to Brussels and Taormina, friendly pictures with European leaders and cheering crowds at his public speech could help Trump repair his image at home,” he said.
However, the Polish branch of Greenpeace is using Mr Trump’s visit to Warsaw to protest against his decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement.
The words “No Trump Yes Paris” were projected in huge green letters on the city’s Palace of Culture and Science on Wednesday.
Will the G20 go smoothly?
Later on Thursday, the US leader will travel to Hamburg for what could be a potentially fractious summit.
He has fallen out with some EU nations over climate change and trade. UK Prime Minister Theresa May will challenge him over climate change, saying an international agreement on the issue should not be renegotiated.
Aid organisations are expected to hold demonstrations in Hamburg urging the heads of government to do more to tackle inequality.
“It’s important because you have the biggest meeting of all of the leading rulers of the main countries in the world – the G20 – and I don’t like some of the politics that they’re doing, especially that of [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, of Putin and of Trump,” one protester told the BBC.