Greece ratifies defence deal with US

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the Greece-US Mutual Defence Agreement is a tool to feel safe internally to broaden horizons and not return to phobic syndromes that, instead of empowering us, weaken and trap the country.  [EPA-EFE/KOSTAS TSIRONIS]

The Greek government is expected to ratify on Thursday a landmark defence agreement with the US deepening the American military presence at four new military bases. 

The main opposition has reacted, saying the government did not negotiate the new deal properly. At the same time, in a sudden move, US President Joe Biden asked congressional leaders to approve the sale of advanced weapons and other equipment for Turkey’s fleet of F-16 jet fighters.

The new defence deal signed in October 2021 is considered significant for Greece’s foreign policy, given the escalation in the wider region, particularly with neighbouring Turkey. 

“Everyone will vote on how they perceive the country’s strategic alliances”, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. 

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the Greece-US Mutual Defence Agreement is a tool to feel safe internally to broaden horizons and not return to phobic syndromes that, instead of empowering us, weaken and trap the country. 

“We believe in the need for Greece to be open in the Balkans and not to be a prisoner of Greek-Turkish disputes,” Dendias said.

The vote comes ahead of a crucial visit on Monday of Mitsotakis to Washington, where he will meet Biden and be the first Greek leader to address the US Congress.

The main opposition, leftist Syriza, is expected to vote against the deal, accusing the conservative of giving Washington everything without taking anything back. 

A report by The Wall Street Journal fuelled the fire as it suggested that Biden asked congressional leaders to approve the sale of advanced weapons and other equipment for Turkey’s fleet of F-16 jet fighters. 

The report says the sale of new F-16s to Turkey could help ease tensions between the two NATO allies and prevent Turkey from coming even closer to Russia and China.

“Biden gives F16 to Turkey while Mitsotakis gives military bases to the US,” Syriza said, adding that the government is exercising the “most dangerous” foreign policy at the most critical moment for the developments in our wider region and “to the detriment of Greek people’s interests”.

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