MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - Bulgaria has asked the United States to deploy a permanent military force in the country to boost regional security and increase military cooperation, local media reported.
Earlier this month Bulgarian Defense Minister Anu Anguelov discussed with Pentagon officials establishment of a US military base in Novo Selo, according to the daily Dneven Trud. If the deal goes ahead it could double US troop numbers in the country.
US troops have been present in Bulgaria for over six years under a Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2006. Americans are allowed to train their troops at four Bulgarian bases, which remain under Sofia's command, the Sofia News Agency said.
The treaty also permits the US to use the bases "for missions in third countries without a specific authorization from Bulgarian authorities."
Only 2,500 US troops are present in Bulgaria at the moment. They include armor, mechanized infantry and airborne or light infantry.