Poland, US sign deal on special forces cooperation
Polish and US officials signed a deal Thursday designed to increase cooperation between Polish and American special forces in their fight against global terrorism, dpa reported.
Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates signed the memorandum of understanding on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Krakow.
Klich called the memo a "milestone" on the road to strengthening Polish special forces in modern operations.
"I think the value of this agreement will be shortly tested out during operations in Afghanistan," Klich said.
Klich said the Poland-US partnership was evidenced by both fighting alongside in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Poland's defence ministry kept its mission in Afghanistan despite budget cuts caused by the world financial crisis.
The country currently has nearly 1,600 soldiers as part of NATO's 55,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Klich said Thursday that no troop increases were foreseen by his country, despite calls to this effect by the US.
"We are not considering sending more troops to Afghanistan," Klich said.
Gates said the memo would "expand and deepen" cooperation between US and Polish troops.
In a separate deal signed in August, the US pledged military aid to Poland in exchange for its acceptance that it host anti-missile shields on its territory.
The shield, which the US says is designed to defend the US and its allies from rogue states such as Iran, has sparked anger in Russia, with Moscow claiming the system is aimed at its nuclear arsenal.
US President Barack Obama has since said that he supports the missile shield in principle, but only if the technology can be shown to be effective.