US V Corps in Poland crowning achievement of our actions - MoD
Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said in Kraków, southern Poland, on Tuesday that placing the forward command of the 5th US Army Corps in Poland is the crowning achievement of efforts to increase the American military presence in Poland.
"Today we can confirm the decision that was announced by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper last week to establish in Poland the forward command of the 5th Corps," said Błaszczak after meeting with the Chief of Staff of the US Army, General James McConville, and the Commander of the 1st Infantry Division John Kolasheski, the appointed commander of the reactivated 5th Corps.
Błaszczak recalled last year's declarations by US president Donald Trump and Poland's President Andrzej Duda which he pointed out "determined the permanent presence of American troops in Poland".
"The presence of the forward command of the 5th Corps is tangible proof of the implementation of the policy of both presidents, the aim of which is to strengthen Polish-American relations," said Błaszczak.
He added that last week the Polish and US sides successfully concluded talks on a long-term defence cooperation agreement. Błaszczak said the agreement will define Polish-US cooperation in this area for decades to come, and will also regulate the functioning of Polish-stationed US forces. Błaszczak also thanked US Ambassador in Poland Georgette Mosbacher for her help in the agreement's finalisation.
McConville called the placement of the forward command of the 5th US Army Corps in Poland "a historical fact" and said the move strengthened both countries' military ties. He added that the Polish centre will enable oversight over all US forces in Europe.
Ambassador Mosbacher said the move will help bring US and Polish armed forces closer together and enable their better integration. She also said such security reinforcements were of special significance in view of the coronavirus epidemic. Mosbacher said Poland and the US were expanding their military and civilian cooperation, reminded that US forces were excellently trained to protect the eastern NATO flank, and thanked Polish and US troops for their common defence effort.
The Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement was politically agreed upon by Poland and the US on July 30. It will facilitate the further strengthening of bilteral military cooperation, including the increased presence of US troops in Poland. According to the Polish Defence Ministry, it is planned to be signed soon.
Under the two agreements signed by Presidents Duda and Trump, the US presence in Poland will be defined as enduring instead of rotating, and the number of US troops stationed in this country will grow by around 1,000 to at least 5,500.