Greece To Discuss 5-year US Defence Deal: PM
Umer Jamshaid 8 days ago Sun 12th September 2021 | 07:20 PM
Athens, Sept 12 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th Sep, 2021 ) :Greece and the US are in talks to extend their defence deals by five years, instead of one-year renewals now in force, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday.
"We are discussing a five-year extension to the defence cooperation agreement, so that we don't have to renew it on an annual basis," Mitsotakis told a news conference at the Thessaloniki International Fair.
There would be a "more important US presence in our country, possibly in areas where they currently do not have a presence," he said, without elaborating.
Mitsotakis added that Greek-US strategic cooperation "is at its best level ever".
5-billion-euro ($3 billion) deal for 18 Rafale jets -- 12 used and six new -- as part of a burgeoning arms programme to counter Turkish challenges in the eastern Mediterranean.
On Saturday, Mitsotakis said Greece would "soon" purchase an additional six Rafales.
"The first among them will be flying in Greek skies before the end of the year," the PM said, without giving further detail.
The announcement was welcomed Sunday by French Defence Minister Florence Parly, who tweeted: "Together, we are making progress in constructing true European autonomy." Athens also supports efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron to improve the EU's independent operational capabilities, Mitsotakis said on Sunday.
Greece spends more than two percent of its national output on defence, the PM said.
Mitsotakis last year announced Greece's most ambitious arms spending programme in two decades, including 15,000 additional troops, frigates, missiles and warplanes.