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Alexandroupolis a “Key Port” for U.S. Military Presence in Greece

Greece Alexandroupolis U.S.
Joint Greece US military exercise in 2021 in northern Greece. Credit: US Embassy Athens

The port of Alexandroupolis in north-eastern Greece will play a vital role in the military presence of the U.S. in the country, foreign minister Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday.

Speaking during a debate in Parliament on the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) signed between Greece and the United States, Dendias described the use of the northern Greek port by the American military as “one of the most important elements of the agreement.”

He said that the key role of the Alexandroupolis port should be an energy hub rather than a commercial port.

“We want the strategic presence of the United States. Yes, we do not want Alexandroupolis’ port to be a commercial one: it is exactly this that bothered [Turkish President Recep] Tayyip Erdogan.

“We see this as the primary consideration for Thrace—the history of the region has changed with the creation of an energy hub. Geopolitically, the crisis in Ukraine affirmed what we are doing,” said Dendias.

The Greek Foreign Minister said that the US-Greece MDCA, awaiting the ratification in the Greek Parliament, will allow Greece to expand its horizons and avoid regressing to fearfulness.

A key point of the Greece-U.S. agreement was the port of Alexandroupolis

Dendias was addressing the National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, which reviewed the Second Protocol of Amendment. The ratification debate and vote at the plenary level will take place on Thursday.

“We chose to amend and extend the agreement because we believe it serves the interests of the country,” Dendias explained. “We did not pretend, for the sake of the national interest, that Greece lies at a safe location. We wanted NATO’s military presence in the region and in Thrace.”

Dendias also revealed that the two sides “discussed the ten-year extension of the agreement, as well. A key point was the issue of Alexandroupolis.”

The MDCA’s was signed by FM Dendias and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on October 14, 2021.

It explicitly states that 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.

As Blinken had noted in a letter to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in October, “The MDCA is the bedrock of our defense cooperation and has helped strengthen our common defense for more than three decades. This second amendment to the MDCA in as many years demonstrates the continued ability and resolve of the United States and Greece to address the security challenges of today and tomorrow through our strategic relationship.”

Related: Ukraine Crisis: The Critical Role of US Bases in Greece

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