U.S. Marines to be temporary posted in Norway in 2017

U.S. Marines to be temporary posted in Norway in 2017Norway will allow U.S. troops to be stationed on its soil for a limited period from next year, Reuters reported on Monday, citing the defense ministry.

Some 330 U.S. Marines will be stationed at the Vaernes military base in central Norway from January, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the trial would be reviewed in the course of the year.

It is the first time since the end of World War Two, when foreign troops have been posted on Norwegian territory.

Norway is a founding member of the U.S.-led NATO alliance and a close U.S. political ally. NATO troops have long come to the Nordic country to take part in military exercise but have not been stationed on Norwegian territory.

"The United States are our most important ally and we have a near bilateral relationship that we wish to develop," Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement.

"The defense of Norway is dependent on allied reinforcement and it is crucial for Norwegian security that our allies get the knowledge required to operate in Norway, together with Norwegian forces," she added.

Earlier Soereide has expressed concern about Russian military activity since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. Norway shares a border with Russia in the Arctic.

The move stirred criticism from parts of the opposition.

"This is not a good signal to send. We face a cold political climate that requires predictability from Norway," Audun Lysbakken, the leader of the small opposition Socialist Left party, told public broadcaster NRK.

"We should rather reinforce our national defense and not aim for some form of permanent presence by U.S. troops," he said.
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