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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » February 4, 2010
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Morąg to Host Patriots
February 4, 2010   
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Morąg, a town of 14,000 in the northeastern Warmia-Mazuria province, has been chosen to host a battery of American Patriot ground-to-air missiles and the troops necessary to maintain them that will be deployed to Poland under an agreement with the U.S. government.

Morąg is close to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. But according to Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski, Morąg has been chosen for practical rather than political reasons. The only reason is the availability of infrastructure, said Klich Jan. 20, while Sikorski seconded, "We want American soldiers to feel at home in Poland and I think Mazuria is where they will feel just fine."

American officials have paid a visit to Morąg to see where the U.S. troops will be stationed, in what buildings they will live, and where the hardware and rocket launchers will be stored.

Around 100 U.S. troops are expected to be stationed in Morąg. In December, Poland and the United States signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) regulating the legal status of U.S. forces in Poland. The agreement will apply to personnel operating the Patriot system. Earlier, in August 2008, the two countries signed an agreement on deploying components of the American missile defense system in Poland.

"I hope the Sejm [lower house of the Polish parliament] will be ready to complete the ratification of SOFA by mid-February and that the agreement, after it is signed by the president, will enable the Americans to send to Poland for the first time a Patriot battery with personnel in late March or early April," said Klich.

The mayor of Morąg, Tadeusz Sobierajski, said he has yet to receive official information about the planned deployment of the American missile battery in the town.
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