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F-16s from UAE Arrive at Their New Base at Souda Bay


F-16 aircraft in flight. Photo: pxfuel

Greek media are reporting that there is a change in the air over Souda Bay base on Crete.
During the day on Friday, four F-16 fighter jets from the United Arab Emirates will fly there and it is reported that the base will be their new home. The move is seen as apparently the the first fruits of last week’s forging of diplomatic ties between the UAE and the West.
The new pact, signed between Israel and the UAE, was an enormous diplomatic coup for those, including US Secretary of State, who had worked behind the scenes to make it happen.
Greek Defense Minister Nikos Dendias and Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister of the UAE, have reportedly made several contacts while Konstantinos Floros, the head of GEETHA, Greece’s National Defense General Staff, has also spoken with his UAE counterpart.
It is expected that over the next several days, all the necessary support personnel and materiel for the jets will arrive at Souda Bay and there will be joint training sessions undertaken by the airmen of the two countries over the Eastern Mediterranean.
It was reported that the head of the UAE armed forces was the first person to congratulate Floros after his appointment to the post.
The stationing of the fighter jets at Souda Bay sends an unmistakable signal to anyone who might think of challenging Greece that the nation is far from alone in defending its borders.
The new, much stronger relationship between Greece, Israel and Egypt shows the power players in the region that there is a new presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and the UAE and Israel’s new friendship is an impressive alliance that apparently has now come to benefit Greece as well.

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