U.S. signs agreement to station F-16s and military personnel in Poland

President Barack Obama during his visit to Poland, MAy 28, 2011.

From Reuters:  NATO allies Poland and the United States signed a deal on Monday for the stationing of U.S. airforce personnel on Polish soil, a symbolically important move for Warsaw as it keeps a nervous eye on neighbouring Russia.

The accord, endorsed by U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit to Warsaw late last month, provides for the establishment of a small air detachment to train Polish pilots in use of F-16 warplanes and C-130 transport planes.

"This memorandum of understanding means that by the end of 2012 we will have in Poland a detachment allowing for the permanent rotation of American military aircraft, both combat and transport aircraft," Defence Minister Bogdan Klich said.

"From 2013 we plan the regular and periodic presence of aircraft and the training of pilots four times a year," Klich told reporters after the signing ceremony with the U.S. ambassador to Poland, Lee Feinstein

From Marcin Sobczyk, the Wall Street Journal:  The U.S. has rotated unarmed Patriot batteries, which a Polish official once angrily called “potted plants,” to Poland. The country has long vied for a more permanent presence to bolster its military capabilities.  (photo: AP)

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