U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has signed a deal with Romania to set up the first U.S. military bases in a former Warsaw Pact country.

Ms. Rice says the agreement will help in the fight against terrorists and praised Romania as a strong ally of the United States.

U.S. forces have used Romania's Mihail Kogalniceanu air base for operations in Afghanistan.  Human Rights Watch has suggested the base houses a secret CIA prison used to detain terror suspects, but Romania denied that report.

Ms. Rice discussed the issue earlier Tuesday in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel.  The secretary stressed that the United States does not condone use of torture in the war against terrorism.

Ms. Merkel said the United States and its allies must find a balance between democratic principles and letting intelligence services do their jobs.

From Romania, Ms. Rice heads to Ukraine as part of her five-day European trip.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.