The US and Greece strengthened their bilateral ties on Thursday by opening a new round of strategic dialogue and signing the renewal of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA).
At a ceremony at the Department of State, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken described Greece as a reliable ally and pillar of stability, during his joint statements with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
“We believe that, together, Greece and the United States can become an even more powerful force for peace, for prosperity, and for human dignity. Because fundamentally that is what we both stand for,” the US Secretary said.
He added that the strategic dialogue covers regional, political, and economic cooperation; defense and security; energy and climate; trade and investment; law enforcement and counterterrorism; humanitarian challenges, disaster response; and people-to-people ties.
Commenting on the MDCA, Blinken said: “This update will allow the agreement to remain in force indefinitely, and it enables U.S. forces in Greece to train and operate from additional locations. We’re strengthening our defense cooperation today.”
For his part, Dendias said that Greece’s actions are based on peace, while reminding that our country faces a threat of war from Turkey if it exercises its sovereign rights.
“In the Eastern Mediterranean, where Greece is facing a casus belli, a threat with war if it exercises its sovereign rights and, I have to say, Greece is facing daily provocation. Greece is committed to resolve disputes with diplomacy and always in accordance with international law,” Dendias said.
The Greek Foreign Minister also referred to the defense cooperation between Greece and France, emphasizing that it strengthens the European arm of NATO.
“This agreement will contribute to enhancing our defense. It will also contribute in enhancing the European pillar of NATO, which is very, very important, and towards a fairer burden sharing between the two sides of the Atlantic, because Greece is and will remain a fully committed ally to NATO.
“We will strive to enhance relations between the European Union and the United States, as well as between the European Union and NATO, as part of our contribution to strengthening the transatlantic bond, which is the cornerstone of our foreign policy,” the Greek foreign minister added.
Meeting b/w FM @NikosDendias and US counterpart @SecBlinken -warm and productive discussion affirming the strategic nature of 🇬🇷🇺🇸 relations. Focus on dvpts in #EasternMediterranean, #MiddleEast, #WesternBalkans, #IndoPacific, climate change & multilateral cooperation prospects pic.twitter.com/VYtTElBK9B
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) October 14, 2021
The five-year renewal will allow Washington to invest in Greece strategically and geopolitically, said Greek diplomatic sources. The two ministers will also inaugurate the third round of the Greece-US Strategic Dialogue.
The extension comes one week after the Greek parliament ratified a pact with France which states Greece will purchase three French frigates that will be delivered in 2025 and 2026. It also includes security cooperation between the two countries, a move hailed by both sides as a step toward European strategic autonomy.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has emphasized that the agreement includes mutual defense assistance in the event of an attack on either county by a third, referring to the “casus belli” declared by the Turkish National Assembly in 1995.
Greek PM welcomes agreement
Mitsotakis welcomed the signing of the Greece-US Mutual Defense & Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) in a statement on Thursday.
The premier said that the signing of the five-year upgraded agreement “seals the quantitative and qualitative upgrade of Greek-American relations.” It is also “a resounding vote of confidence in Greece as a pillar of stability and security in our troubled region,” he added.
The US is choosing to enhance its strategic presence in crucial parts of Greece, from Evros in the north to Crete in the south, noted Mitsotakis. It is also investing in the upgrade of existing military facilities in the country, and “is committing to help Greece tackle any threat or challenge.”
Signing the MDCA is the result of the government’s methodical and frequently unobtrusive policy over the last two years, the premier noted.