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Greece to Ink Deal for 7 Fire-fighting Aircraft at Mitsotakis Visit to Canada

Mitsotakis Canada Fire-fighting aircraft
Canadairs will help Greece deal with wildfires. Credit: AMNA

Greece is expected to finalize a deal for the purchase of 7 fire-fighting aircraft from Canada early next week during the official visit of PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Montréal, and Toronto.

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau, announced that Mitsotakis, will visit on March 24 and 25, 2024. “As NATO Allies and steadfast partners, the visit will be an opportunity to deepen the friendship between Canada and Greece,” he said in a statement.

During the visit, Trudeau and Mitsotakis will advance co-operation in shared interests, including trade and investment, climate action, and creating good, middle-class jobs. The leaders will also explore ways to tackle regional and global challenges, like supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s unprovoked war, defending the rules-based international order, and promoting democracy around the world.

Mitsotakis’ visit will build on the close relationship between Canada and Greece, built on common values and the close ties between our people, Trudeau said.

Canada and Greece are partners, Allies, and friends. When we work together, we create good jobs, grow trade and investment, take climate action, and protect democracies. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Mitsotakis to Canada and advancing our work to make life better for Canadians and Greeks alike.”

This will be Mitsotakis’ first official visit to Canada since his election as Prime Minister of Greece in 2019. An estimated 270,000 Canadians are of Greek descent.

Mitsotakis to seal deal for Canada’s fire-fighting aircraft

During the visit, Mitsotakis is scheduled to finalize a deal to purchase seven DHC-515 Firefighters, the newest water bombers built by De Havilland.

The planes are used in several European countries, including France and Italy, where they are universally known as Canadairs, after the company that originally developed the amphibious tankers in the late 1960s.

Five of the seven planes in the Greek fleet would be purchased by the Greek government. The other two would be purchased by the European Union for its civil protection arm, known as rescEU. The last two will be based in Greece, but will fly, as a priority, to other countries to assist in wildfire emergencies.

The cost for the purchase of the firefighting planes is estimated at €360 million.

Mitsotakis’s official visit will be the first to Canada by a Greek prime minister in 41 years.

“The delay was inexplicable, given the strong ties between Greece and Canada,” he said in an interview to the Globe and Mail. “I had made it a priority to officially visit Canada…to engage with the Greek-Canadian community and to talk about the economic aspect of our co-operation.”

Mitsotakis will meet his Canadian counterpart and fellow son of a Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau in Montreal on Sunday. Then the two leaders will attend the city’s Greek Independence Day parade and an evening event sponsored by the Greek community.

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