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US can build military facilities in Norway under new defense cooperation pact

U.S. Marines with Marine Rotational Force Europe 21.1 ), Marine Forces Europe and Africa, conduct a platoon live-fire range in Blatind, Norway, March 22, 2021. The U.S. signed a revised defense cooperation agreement with Norway April 16, 2021, which will allow the U.S. to build facilities at four bases in the country.

PATRICK KING/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 16, 2021

The U.S. and Norway signed a revised defense cooperation agreement Friday that will allow the Americans to build facilities at three airfields and one naval base in the country.

The agreement comes amid continuing concerns of Russian military activities along NATO’s borders, including in the Arctic region.

Facilities will be built at Rygge Military Air Station south of Oslo, Sola Military Air Station on the southwestern coast, and Evenes Military Air Station and Ramsund Naval Station in the far north.

The updated agreement “confirms Norway’s key position on the northern flank of NATO,” Foreign Affairs Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said. “To ensure that Norway and our Allies can operate together in a crisis situation under difficult conditions, we must be able to hold exercises and train regularly here in Norway.”

The agreement gives the U.S. unimpeded access to specified facilities and areas, Norway’s government said. It does not change Norwegian policies that bar foreign forces from being stationed in the country.

The facilities will be used by U.S., Norwegian and allied forces.

The agreement reflects the U.S. “commitment to reaffirming and reinvigorating America’s alliances to meet common security challenges and protect shared interests and values,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The agreement has to be ratified by the Norwegian parliament before it takes effect.

garland.chad@stripes.com
Twitter: @chadgarland
 

A B-1B Lancer from the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off from Orland Air Force Station, Norway, March 23, 2021. The U.S. signed a revised defense cooperation agreement with Norway April 16, 2021, which will allow the U.S. to build facilities at four bases in the country.
COLIN HOLLOWELL/U.S. AIR FORCE