Greece, US Plan To Amend Mutual Defense Pact, Negotiating Extension - Athens
Faizan Hashmi 1 month ago Mon 01st February 2021 | 05:16 PM
Greece and the United States are preparing amendments to the current mutual defense cooperation agreement and are negotiating its extension, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 01st February, 2021) Greece and the United States are preparing amendments to the current mutual defense cooperation agreement and are negotiating its extension, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said.
In October 2019, the two countries signed a new Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA). It envisaged the expansion of the US naval base at Souda Bay on Crete and allowed the US to use the Greek airbases of Stefanovikeio and Larissa as well as the port of Alexandroupoli. Last year, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that Athens is planning to further expand the existing deal or sign a new one.
"An amendment to the agreement on mutual defense cooperation is already under development," Panagiotopoulos told the Greek Proto Thema newspaper in an interview, which was published on Monday.
The minister mentioned that Washington made "some proposals" and sides are already working on them. In addition, Panagiotopoulos said that Greece asked the US for access to "more funds from [US] military assistance to third countries."
"During the negotiations, the issue of extending the term of the MDCA was raised, which means that they [the US] will be able to make larger investments in [the Greek] infrastructure.
These developments benefit us too," Panagiotopoulos said.
According to the minister, Greece is interested in holding more intensive drills with various units of the US military. Panagiotopoulos also said that he looks forward to cooperating with the administration of US President Joe Biden, and mentioned that he did not get along well with the previous US administration under former President Donald Trump, who had a good personal relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"In addition, the new president [Biden] is well aware of the Greek-Turkish disputes [over energy rights and maritime claims], supports Greece, and is a personal friend of [Greek] Prime Minister [Kyriakos Mitsotakis], which, in my opinion, is important," Panagiotopoulos added.
The US reportedly seeks to prolong the MDCA for five years. As of now, the defense pact is extended every year. According to media reports, the sides are discussing the creation of three more US military bases in Greece � in the northern Greek prefecture of Kavala and on the Aegean islands of Karpathos and Skyros, where drones may be deployed.