The United States and Poland signed a recently negotiated Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) Saturday in Warsaw.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak inked the deal after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
“The agreement will 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,” U.S. President Donald Trump said in a statement.
The deal supplements an existing NATO Status of Forces Agreement, and it also allows U.S. forces access to additional military installations in Poland.
About 4,500 U.S. troops are currently based in Poland and about 1,000 will be added, as both counties agreed and announced last year.
Last July, the Pentagon said that about 12,000 troops would be withdrawn from Germany, from which some 5,600 would be stationed in other countries in Europe, including Poland.
The relocation of U.S. troops is in line with Trump’s demand to reduce American forces in Germany.
Also Saturday, Pompeo met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Poland’s capital, where he honored the centennial of the Battle of Warsaw, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
Pompeo and Morawiecki discussed a new draft bilateral agreement to cooperate in the development of Poland’s civil nuclear power program, which the two countries initialed this week.
Besides defense cooperation, Pompeo and Morawiecki discussed the support for the people of Belarus, measures to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, securing 5G networks, and improving regional energy and infrastructure through the Three Seas Initiative.
Pompeo said Saturday at a news conference in Warsaw that the U.S. is following developments “closely” in Belarus after last weekend’s disputed election and a clampdown on subsequent protests.
The top U.S. diplomat also said the U.N. Security Council’s failure Friday to extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran was “a serious mistake.”
The U.S. effort to extend the embargo failed because of opposition from China and Russia, and a decision by Britain, France, Germany and eight other council members to abstain from voting.
In a statement Saturday, Pompeo lauded Lithuania for designating Hezbollah as a terrorist group and prohibiting its affiliates from entering its territory.
“Lithuania’s decisive action, which follows Germany’s own ban on Hezbollah on April 20, recognizes there is no distinction between Hizballah’s so-called ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings,” the statement said.
Poland was the last leg of Pompeo’s four-nation tour of eastern and central Europe, during which he visited the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Austria, and met with the countries’ leaders.