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UPDATE 1-Pentagon says talks with Poland on U.S. troop increase continue

Updated: 13-02-2019 17:47 IST
UPDATE 1-Pentagon says talks with Poland on U.S. troop increase continue

The United States has not reached an agreement with Poland about any U.S. troop increases and talks on the issue are continuing, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last year Washington is considering a request from Warsaw for a permanent U.S. military presence in the fellow NATO country, acknowledging that he shares Poland's concerns about possible Russian aggression. "Any speculation on troop increases or agreements at this point is unfounded," Pahon said in a statement. "No agreements have been reached. We are continuing discussions and will announce the results of our talks at the appropriate time."

Earlier on Wednesday, the Financial Times reported the U.S. ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, as saying the troop numbers would be raised. Asked whether the increase would run into the hundreds or thousands, Mosbacher said, according to the newspaper: "It will be significant. It passes the hundred mark, the hundreds mark."

The United States already has a contingent in Poland as part of a NATO military alliance deployment to eastern Europe. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Poland on Wednesday as part of a tour of central Europe this week, and to lead an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw. (Reporting by Idrees Ali in Brussels, Lesley Wroughton and Marcin Goclowski in Warsaw; Writing by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Alison Williams and Hugh Lawson)