Pompeo inks deal to move troops from Germany to Poland

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz in Lazienki Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on August 15, 2020. - Pompeo is on a five-day visit to central Europe with a hefty agenda including China's role in 5G network construction. Pompeo was spending two days in the Czech Republic before moving on to Slovenia, Austria and close ally Poland, which is eager to welcome some of the US troops leaving Germany to guard against historic adversary Russia. (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI / various sources / AFP)

AP

Warsaw

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sealed a defence cooperation deal with Polish officials that will pave the way for the redeployment of American troops from Germany to Poland.

In Warsaw on Saturday at the end of a four-nation tour of central and eastern Europe, Pompeo and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement that sets out the legal framework for the additional troop presence.

The pact supplements an existing NATO Status of Forces Agreement and allows for the enhancement and modernisation of existing capabilities and facilities by granting US forces to access additional Polish military installations. It also sets out a formula for sharing the logistical and infrastructure costs of an expanded US presence in the country.

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Donald Trump’s demand to reduce troop numbers in Germany, the Pentagon announced that some 12,000 troops would be withdrawn from Germany with about 5,600 moving to other countries in Europe, including Poland.

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

Trump has long and loudly complained that Germany does not spend enough on defense and has repeatedly accused Germany of failing to pay NATO bills, which is a misstatement of the issue. NATO nations have pledged to dedicate 2% of their gross domestic product.

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

Saturday’s signing came just a day after the Trump administration suffered an embarrassing diplomatic loss at the United Nations when its proposal to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran was soundly defeated in a UN Security Council vote that saw only one country side with the US Pompeo will visit that country, the Dominican Republic, on Sunday for the inauguration of its new president.