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UPDATE: Poland, US sign defence cooperation agreement

15.08.2020 18:45
Poland and the United States on Saturday signed a major defence cooperation deal under which 1,000 extra American troops will be stationed in this country.
Audio
  • Poland and the US sign defence cooperation agreement
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak at the presidential palace in Warsaw on Saturday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak at the presidential palace in Warsaw on Saturday. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

The new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was inked by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Warsaw.

The deal was long sought by Poland, a staunch US military ally fearful of Russia. Around 4,500 American troops are already stationed in Poland on a rotating basis.

The agreement was signed at the presidential palace in Warsaw by Pompeo and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak sign a defence cooperation deal on Saturday. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak sign a defence cooperation deal on Saturday. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

The deal also means that Poland will host the "forward elements" of the U.S. Army’s V Corps headquarters, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said earlier this month, announcing that Warsaw and Washington had completed negotiations on the cooperation agreement.

The American soldiers in Poland and their base will be excluded from Polish jurisdiction, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

President Andrzej Duda said on Saturday: "Not only will there be more US Army soldiers, not only will there be more American infrastructure in our country, but there will also be a stronger guarantee that our soldiers will stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of any danger, whether it threatens Poland or the US."

He added that the deal between the two countries "takes us to the next, even more strengthened stage of defence and military cooperation."

Deal will bolster European security: Trump

In a statement posted on the White House website, US President Donald Trump was cited as saying the agreement would "enhance our military cooperation and increase the United States military presence in Poland to further strengthen NATO deterrence, bolster European security, and help ensure democracy, freedom, and sovereignty.”

Pompeo, meanwhile, said the deal was "another step in our robust military cooperation for our collective security."

Saturday's signing ceremony coincided with events marking the 100th anniversary of a key Polish victory over the Russian Bolsheviks in the 1920 Battle of Warsaw. Pompeo attended the centennial events.

During a meeting at the White House in June last year, US President Donald Trump and Poland’s Andrzej Duda 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.

Georgette Mosbacher, the US ambassador to Poland, tweeted on Saturday: “Polish-American relations have never been as close as they are today.”

(pk)

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