Pompeo inks deal to support more US troops in Poland

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Poland's Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak greet each other after signing the US-Poland Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday Aug. 15, 2020. Pompeo is on a five day visit to central Europe. (Janek Skarzynski/Pool via AP)

WARSAW – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sealed a defense cooperation deal Saturday with Polish officials that will pave the way to deploy more American troops to Poland.

Pompeo, in Warsaw at the end of a four-nation tour of central and eastern Europe, signed the deal with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak that sets out the legal framework for the additional troops.

“This is going to be an extended guarantee: a guarantee that in case of a threat our soldiers are going to stand arm-in-arm,” Poland's President Andrzej Duda said during the signing ceremony. “It will also serve to increase the security of other countries in our part of Europe.”

The deal would also further other aspects of U.S.-Polish cooperation, he added, citing primarily investment and trade ties.

Some 4,500 U.S. troops are currently based in Poland, but about 1,000 more are to be added. Last month, in line with President Donald Trump’s demand to reduce troop numbers in Germany, the Pentagon announced that 12,000 troops would be withdrawn from Germany with about 5,600 moving to other countries in Europe, including Poland.

In addition, several U.S. military commands will be moved out of Germany, including the U.S. Army V Corps overseas headquarters that will relocate to Poland next year.

The deal would also further other aspects of U.S.-Polish cooperation, he added, citing primarily investment and trade ties.

The pact signed Saturday supplements a NATO pact and allows for the enhancement and modernization of existing capabilities and facilities by allowing U.S. forces to access additional Polish military installations. It also sets out a formula for sharing the logistical and infrastructure costs of an expanded U.S. presence in the country.