France is sending warships to the eastern Mediterranean for joint drills with Greek and Cypriot vessels as President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday condemned Turkey for exacerbating regional tensions.
After holding talks in Paris with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Macron pledged that France would step up its strategic relationship with Greece and announced a new agreement between the French and Greek defense ministries. “We are talking about an industrial cooperation and joint exercises at sea and on land. We would also like other bordering countries to be involved.”
The French President condemned Turkey for not only signing the agreement with Libya on the delineation of maritime zones but also interfering in the civil war in the country.
“France supports Greece and Cyprus in terms of respect for their sovereign rights, condemning Turkey’s challenge of these. We repeated our concerns and condemned unequivocally the Turkey-Libya agreement,” Macron said.
Mitsotakis welcomed a decision by France to dispatch frigates to the eastern Mediterranean, describing the vessels as “guarantors of peace.” He added that “Greece and France are pursuing a new framework of strategic defense.”
France has begun to offer tangible maritime support in the Mediterranean, beginning with new joint military maneuvers south of the island of Crete.
Also, French Navy helicopter carrier “Dixmude” has already docked at the port of Piraeus and is scheduled to participate in a joint drill called “Alexander the Great-2020” with Greek and American warships in the Gulf of Magnesia, off the city of Volos in central Greece.
This is the very first time that France has sent such an enormous and powerful vessel for multinational military exercises hosted by the Hellenic Navy.
French Ambassador to Cyprus Isabelle Dumont confirmed that the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, the flagship of the French Navy, will make a port visit late next month to Limassol, the only port the gigantic ship will visit during its mission to the Eastern Mediterranean.