İrem UZUN -TDO- The United States has signed a defence cooperation deal with Poland that will pave the way to deploy more U.S. troops to the country. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak signed the deal at the weekend, called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). "This will also strengthen the guarantee that our soldiers will stand shoulder to shoulder in the case of any kind of danger, whether it be a threat to Poland or one for the U.S.," Polish President Andrzej Duda said after the ceremony.
According to the BBC, about 4,500 U.S. troops are currently stationed in Poland and another 1,000 will be added under the new pact. The headquarters of the U.S. Army V Corps will also be relocated from Germany to Poland. Last month, the U.S. confirmed that almost 12,000 troops would be withdrawn from Germany in what it described as a "strategic" repositioning of its forces in Europe. About 6,400 troops are being sent home with the rest moved to other NATO countries including Poland, Italy and Belgium.
Pompeo's decision to move troops and bases to Poland is the result of U.S President Donald Trump's longstanding criticism of Germany, who he has accused of not spending enough on defense and failing to pay NATO bills. While the move will have done little to improve relations with Germany, it has been warmly welcomed by the Polish government, who have formed a strong relationship with the Trump administration.