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Greece Says Defense Deal With the US Shields from Turkey’s Aggression

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Joint Greece US military exercise earlier in 2021 in northern Greece. Credit: US Embassy Athens

Diplomatic sources in Athens said that the upgraded Mutual Defense & Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) with the US, signed in Washington on Thursday, shields Greece from Turkey’s aggression.

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.

Diplomatic sources point out that as the MDCA agreement explicitly states, the United States and Greece “resolve to defend sovereignty & territorial integrity both against actions threatening peace and armed aggression.” The text is the closest that a conventional text comes to condemning Turkey’s casus belli with Greece, the sources told state-run AMNA.

After the signing ceremony at the Department of State, Dendias said that the agreement  safeguards Greek interests. “It establishes a protective shield for our country. It also creates a shell that allows the United States to invest in Greece, not only for the improvement of our country’s defense facilities, but to do so in a broader framework of cooperation that is being established and improved.”

He added: “I would also like to make it clear that this agreement, like the previous agreement signed with France, is not directed against anyone.”

US to invest in military installations in Greece

The US is investing in military installations at strategic locations, as in Evros region and on Crete, while the MDCA along with the defense agreement with France and the agreements with the United Arab Emirates create a defense shield for Greece, they said. The French agreement in particular boosts the EU’s and NATO’s defense capabilities.

The same sources told AMNA that the MDCA allows for expansion of American presence to other Greek islands besides Crete, although the US did not wish to commit to other areas at present, for financial reasons. Nothing however precludes the revision of the agreement with the addition of locations, as long as conditions allow, they added.

According to the same sources, the agreement confirms Greece’s strategic and balancing role in the Balkans and the Middle East, particularly as the US is disengaging from Europe, while America is investing in the country for the future.

Choosing the port town of Alexandroupolis signals the American desire to boost security in Southeastern Europe by circumventing the Dardanelles. The American side confirms the protection of Greece’s territorial sovereignty thirty decades later, sources said.

Greek PM welcomes agreement

Kyriakos 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.”

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