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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish-US defence deal ‘will enhance deterrence against Russia’: Pentagon chief

04.08.2020 07:15
A newly negotiated Polish-US defence cooperation agreement “will enhance deterrence against Russia,” the Pentagon chief has said.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.Photo: PAP/EPA/Greg Nash/POOL

Mark Esper said in a statement on Monday that “the United States and Poland have completed negotiations on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), building on our existing security cooperation and cementing our long-standing defense partnership.”

He added that the agreement “reflects the shared vision” outlined in joint declarations signed by US President Donald Trump and Poland’s Andrzej Duda last year.

“Specifically, it provides the required legal framework, infrastructure and equitable burden-sharing essential to deepening our defense cooperation,” Esper said.

‘Enduring U.S. rotational presence of about 1,000’

The US defense secretary also said in his statement that the agreement “will enable an increased enduring U.S. rotational presence of about 1,000 personnel, to include the forward elements of the U.S. Army’s V Corps headquarters and a Division headquarters, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and the infrastructure to support an armored brigade combat team and combat aviation brigade.”

“This is in addition to the 4,500 U.S. personnel already on rotation in Poland,” he added.

‘Milestone’ for transatlantic security

According to Esper, the agreement “will enhance deterrence against Russia, strengthen NATO, reassure our Allies, and our forward presence in Poland on NATO’s eastern flank will improve our strategic and operational flexibility.”

He hailed the deal as an “important milestone for U.S.-Polish relations and our collective transatlantic security.”

Esper announced last week that the United States would pull out roughly a third of the 36,000 American forces stationed in Germany.

Nearly 5,600 of the 11,900 troops to be removed from that country will be sent to other NATO allies in Europe, including Poland, he said at the time.

Following that announcement, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that “there will be more American soldiers in Poland” and that his country would get to host “the most important US Army headquarters in the region.”

'Important day for Poland's security': defence minister

Błaszczak said at the end of last week that the completion of negotiations on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States marked "an important day for Poland's security."

He added that the two countries "will soon sign a final agreement on the enduring presence of US troops in Poland."

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

During a meeting at the White House in June last year, the Polish and US presidents inked a declaration in which America pledged to station around 1,000 extra troops in Poland. They also sealed a raft of economic agreements.

The two presidents in September 2019 signed a defence agreement to name locations for more American troops in Poland.

(gs/pk)

Source: PAP, defense.gov