Official: Spain Approves Permanent US Base For Africa Force
MADRID — The Spanish government said on Friday it had approved an agreement to host a permanent force of 2,200 US Marines for deployment on missions to Africa.
Spain and the United States will formalize the deal by signing an amendment to a 1988 defense partnership during a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Madrid on Monday.
Madrid agreed to permanently extend an agreement under which the force has been based at Moron de la Frontera, near Seville in southern Spain, said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.
«The deployment at the Moron base will be made permanent with a force of 2,200 military personnel and 500 civilian staff plus 26 aircraft,» she told a news conference.
The base will be able to host temporary extra deployments of up to 800 more personnel and 14 more planes, she said.
Currently 800-strong, the US force was first stationed at Moron in April 2013 after a deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya the previous year.
«The aim is to contribute to the stability of the region and common security in Africa, Europe and the Middle East,» Saenz said.
From Moron the Marines will be able to launch missions in the region to protect their embassies or rescue other US personnel in difficulty, evacuate civilians or intervene in conflicts and humanitarian crises.
Among the aircraft to be deployed will be MV-22 Osprey transport planes that can take off vertically with big wing-mounted propellers.
Monday, June 1, 2015
By Paul McLeary with Ariel Robinson
The Spanish-US Agreement over Moron Base: More Marines to Europe
While the Spanish Parliament still has to approve the deal, Washington and Madrid have reached an agreement that would allow the U.S. to station up to 2,200 Marines and 26 aircraft at the southern Moron air base — along with 500 civilian staff — solidifying and expanding the Corps’ 850-troop rapid reaction force currently stationed there.
The Marines at Moron are tasked with quickly responding to crises in Africa and Europe. Their unit stood up after the September 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya. The new agreement also allows the 2,200 troops to be augmented by another 800 on a temporary basis. The Spanish government isn’t completely giving the facility over to the Americans, however: The base remains Spanish and the U.S. would need Madrid’s permission to launch any unilateral missions from Spanish soil.
Washington has pledged to invest about $29 million in infrastructure work at the base, an infusion of cash that’ll likely be good news to the struggling Spanish economy. What will also be good for the local economy are 2,200 young Marines with big holes in their pockets let loose on weekend furloughs.