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US marines to establish Norway 'base' by January

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US marines to establish Norway 'base' by January
One of the US Marines' Abrams tanks fires its main gun in an exercise in Norway in February. Photo: US Marine Corp
12:42 CEST+02:00
The US Marine Corps is to establish a new base in northern Norway as early as January, as Nato forces work to improve their ability respond rapidly to potential Russian aggression
Maj. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, commander of US Marine Forces in Europe and Africa, told US broadcaster CNN that the new marine base was under discussion with the Norwegian government. 
"We enjoy a very close relationship with the Norwegian Armed Forces and a limited rotational presence in Norway would certainly enhance this relationship and our ability to operate together," he said in a statement 
"If approved by the Norwegian government, a Marine Corps presence in Norway will increase NATO's ability to rapidly aggregate and employ forces in northern Europe.” 
Lars Gjemble, spokesman for the Norwegian Defence Ministry, confirmed that “a limited rotational US Marine Corps presence in Norway is a possible option currently being considered”, but said it was “premature” to give further details.  
According to Norway's Adresseavisen newspaper, the US hopes to establish a rotating force of 300 troops in Værnes, an airport outside the city of Trondheim, as early as this coming January. 
The plans have been opposed by Norway's Liberal, Centre, Socialist Left and Christian Democratic parties, with Trine Skei Grande accusing the government of "outsourcing protection of our country to the US marines". 
Here is a video of the US Marines training in Norway last winter. 
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