Polish and U.S. presidents to discuss nuclear energy

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday that he would discuss cooperation with the United States on nuclear energy in talks with President Donald Trump in Washington next week.

The visit, unexpectedly announced by the White House on Wednesday, takes place four days before Poland’s presidential election on June 28.

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Duda, an ally of Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, has been leading in opinion polls, although some surveys show he may not win the second round of the vote.

“We will definitely talk about cooperation between Polish companies and Polish authorities, and companies and authorities from the United States over conventional nuclear energy and its use,” Duda told a news conference.

Poland generates most of its electricity from coal, but aims to replace it with gas and nuclear energy in response to European Union calls to cut emissions. Warsaw has held talks with Washington on joint nuclear project for years, but no details have been agreed.

Duda said that issues including defence and the presence of U.S. troops in Poland would also be on the agenda.

Last June, Trump agreed to send 1,000 more troops to Poland. Reuters reported last week that the project was crumbling amid disputes over funding and where to garrison the troops. The report was denied by some members of Poland’s government and by the U.S. ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher.

Trump said on Monday that the United States would reduce its troops in Germany by 9,500 to 25,000. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said he hopes some of them will be moved to Poland.

Duda will be the first foreign leader to visit the White House since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I treat it as a very important sign for Poland,” Duda said.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko, editing by Alan Charlish and Giles Elgood

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