Denmark may allow US troops on its soil, pact in the works

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By Euronews  with AFP, AP
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the Chancellery, in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 9, 2022.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the Chancellery, in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 9, 2022.   -   Copyright  Michele Tantussi/Pool via AP

Denmark might open the door to US soldiers and military equipment on its soil as part of a new bilateral agreement to facilitate the troops' movement in Europe.

"The United States has reached out to Denmark with an offer of bilateral defence cooperation," in addition to Nato, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced at a news conference on Thursday.

The potential new Danish-American defence cooperation deal “is a breakthrough after many decades" of a policy against allowing foreign troops to be stationed on Danish soil, she told the local media.

"The exact form that this collaboration will take has not yet been defined, but it could include the presence of soldiers [and] US military equipment on Danish soil," she added.

The negotiations for this future agreement have not been precipitated by the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine, the Danish Prime Minister said. However, she added that the situation "illustrates" the need for enhanced cooperation.

Defense Minister Morten Bødskov told reporters that no American military bases would be established in Denmark. He declined to comment on where US troops would be placed in the country.

"NATO and the United States are the guarantors of our security, which is why we stand together with the United States when Western values such as democracy and freedom are challenged," he also said.

The Nordic country, which fought alongside the US in Iraq, has become one of Washington's closest allies in Europe over the past two decades.

The US currently has troops deployed in Poland, Germany and Romania.

It recently bolstered the number of troops stationed in Poland and Romania in response to the crisis along the Ukrainian border where Russia has massed hundreds of thousands of soldiers and military equipment, sparking fear it could invade its neighbour.

Moscow, which has also deployed troops in Belarus for joint military exercises, has denied the accusations. Meanwhile, it demanded that NATO pull back from eastern Ukraine and guarantee that Ukraine and Georgia will never be allowed to join.

Slovakia will also have some US troops on its soil after MPs approved a controversial treaty earlier this month that will allow Washington to use two Slovak air force bases for the next 10 years.