Saturday, June 4, 2011

Poland, U.S. to sign airbase deal after Obama visit

The Polish defense minister confirmed on Friday that Warsaw and Washington would sign a deal on the permanent deployment of a U.S. air detachment in Poland after U.S. President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to the European state.

Polish media reports have speculated that Obama could announce the transfer of an F-16 squadron from the Aviano base in Italy to the Lask air field in central Poland during his May 27-28 visit to Warsaw.

"An agreement on the permanent deployment of U.S. Air Force assets in Poland and the periodic rotation of F-16 fighters in the country will be signed after Barack Obama's visit," Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said in an interview with the TOK FM radio.

The U.S. detachment will service F-16 fighter jets, Hercules transport planes, and land personnel periodically visiting Poland, the minister said.

Klich expressed hope that the F-16 rotation could start as early as in 2013.

Meanwhile, Russia warned Poland against hosting U.S. fighter jets, saying it would counter the move.

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