President Donald Trump on Wednesday said some U.S. troops withdrawn from Germany may be sent to Poland. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI | License Photo
June 24 (UPI) -- Polish President Andrzej Duda said Wednesday he would welcome U.S. troops withdrawn from Germany in his country, as he became the first foreign leader to travel to the White House amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month the United States announced plans to remove one-third of the troops currently stationed in Germany. President Donald Trump said during a joint press conference with Duda that some would "probably" be relocated to Poland.
"We're going to be reducing our forces in Germany. Some will be coming home and some will be going to other places but Poland would be one of those other places," Trump said.
He condemned NATO member countries that are "delinquent with respect to their dues, the money they're supposed to be paying on defense" citing Germany's defense spending as a reason for the reduction of forces.
"We will be only satisfied when all members are paying their fair share," Trump said.
Duda said he would be ready to receive U.S. troops and that withdrawing forces from Germany would be "very detrimental to European security." He asked the United States to consider maintaining its military presence in Europe.
"In our belief, it is deeply justified to ensure U.S. troops are left in Europe," he said.
The White House described Wednesday's meeting as coming during a "critical time" as both countries seek to reopen their economies after shutdowns implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump said the two countries would collaborate on developing and distributing a vaccine for COVID-19.
"We will be getting Poland involved, both in terms of helping but also in terms of taking care of the Polish people once we have the vaccine, but I think we're gonna have it very soon," he said.