20:53 GMT20 April 2021
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    US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States and Spain have signed an amendment to the Bilateral Agreement on Defense Cooperation that allows a permanent US Marine Corps presence at Spain’s Moron Air Base.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States and Spain have signed an amendment to the Bilateral Agreement on Defense Cooperation that allows a permanent US Marine Corps presence at Spain’s Moron Air Base, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a press release on Wednesday.

    “We are very grateful to our Spanish allies and partners and friends for this agreement,” Blinken said after signing the amendment.

    The Bilateral Agreement authorizes the United States to increase its contingent at the Moron Air Base from 850 to nearly 3,000 service personnel in the event of a crisis. It also allow the United States to keep 2,200 personnel under normal circumstances and boost the number of military aircraft from 17 to 26.

    “We are more than happy to give this cooperation,” Spain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ignacio Ibanez said.

    After the 2012 terrorist attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, the United States asked Spain to enable the Moron base to be used as a rapid response staging area in emergency situations in Africa.

    Initially, Madrid allowed 550 US marines to be based at the base. In 2014, Spain extended the mandate and agreed to increase the total number of US personnel to 850.

    Related:

    US Missile Defense Ship to Arrive in Spain in Fall 2015
    US to Form Permanent Military Base in Spain for African Missions
    Tags:
    military presence, air base, US, Spain
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