Washington stands ready to discuss with Athens the sale of F-35 fighter jets and frigates whenever Greece is ready, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said on Thursday.
Acquiring F-35s cannot be done until an appropriate infrastructure is built to store the fighter jets in Greece, said Pyatt. US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has announced that it will take at least five years to develop this infrastructure.
Based on Athens’ plan to also upgrade the Navy and Air Force capabilities, Ambassador Pyatt stressed that an agreement between the two sides over the purchase of the Navy’s new frigates could be accompanied by an interim deal for the sale of a warship, until the completion of the frigates.
However, Washington is currently waiting for a non-binding Letter of Request (LoR) from the Greek government for the frigates.
“We prefer the current situation to the one we experienced in August,” said Ambassador Pyatt in response to a question about the exploratory talks between Athens and Ankara, adding that the US supports Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’s efforts to put the discussions with Ankara back on track.
The ball is now in Ankara’s court, said Pyatt, referring to Greece having already made a proposal for a second round of talks in Athens. (Alexandros Fotiadis | EURACTIV.gr)