U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo Arrives in Prague

Prague Morning

The top U.S. diplomat arrived in Prague on Tuesday morning for a two-day official visit.

The trip comes as the Pentagon prepares to move forward with a plan to pull almost 12,000 troops from Germany and redeploy part of the U.S. forces to Poland and other NATO nations, raising concerns at home and in Europe even as senior officials defend it as a strategic necessity.

Ambassador Philip Reeker, the State Department’s acting assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, said Pompeo will discuss with his counterparts the just-completed U.S.-Poland Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that “provides a framework” to further strengthen “the broad transatlantic security.”

The defense deal enables the United States for “rotational presence” of an additional 1,000 U.S. troops to “enhance deterrence against Russia, strengthen NATO,” and to assure allies, officials say. About 4,500 U.S. personnel are already on rotation in Poland.

In Prague, Pompeo will meet with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis to discuss nuclear energy cooperation and the Three Seas Initiative, a political platform to promote connectivity among nations in central and eastern Europe by supporting infrastructure, energy, and digital interconnectivity projects.

The initiative gets its name from the three seas that border the region: the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic.

On Wednesday, Pompeo is set to deliver a speech at the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on bilateral ties and foreign policy.

Still on Thursday, Pompeo will travel to Austria to meet Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for talks on US-Austrian trade and Austria’s involvement in peacekeeping missions worldwide.

Finally, the secretary will move to Poland on Saturday to discuss the redeployment of troops pulled from Germany.

 

 

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