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Bulgaria has agreed to open three military bases to permanent use by 2,500 U.S. troops who would be available for combat in the Middle East and other nearby regions. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will seal the deal when she visits the country this week.
Miss Rice, who leaves on a trip to the Balkans today, is expected to sign a broad defense-cooperation agreement with the new NATO ally that would authorize the stationing of foreign forces on its soil for the first time in its 1,325-year history, U.S. and Bulgarian officials said.
The final draft of the agreement, which was seen by The Washington Times, allows the United States to deploy troops from the bases for missions in third countries without the specific permission of the Bulgarian authorities…