Warsaw: US Secretary of State John Kerry is coming to Poland to discuss issues ranging from international security and the situation in the Middle East to economic cooperation.
This will be the first visit by a high-ranking US politician to Europe since the revelations that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were among leaders who reportedly had their phones tapped by the National Security Agency, which reportedly collected data on millions of Europe-based phone calls.
Alleged spying is expected to figure in Kerry`s talks tomorrow with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Poland`s foreign and defense ministers. Polish leaders have not been named among the surveillance targets, but Tusk indicated he wants to hear Washington`s explanations on the matter.
The allegations of US spying on its allies have led European leaders to call for a halt to such practices, while many officials are demanding a suspension of a trans-Atlantic agreement that allows US companies like Apple or Google to process commercial and personal data of clients in Europe. Congress is taking steps to overhaul surveillance laws and curb the NSA`s powers.
In Poland, Kerry is also expected to discuss the defense ministry`s plans to spend some USD 30 billion on upgrading equipment in the next nine years, development of a missile shield in Europe and troop pullouts from Afghanistan.
Kerry is making this brief stop in Europe during his visit to the Middle East. On arrival from the Arab Emirates today, Kerry is to lay a wreath at the grave of Poland`s and Eastern Europe`s first post-communist prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who dies last week at the age of 86 and was laid to rest yesterday.
From Poland, Kerry goes on to Israel.