Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed on Thursday (Oct. 14) the renewal of the U.S.-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) at the State Department in Washington, U.S. where the two diplomats touted increasingly close ties between the NATO allies.
“Today’s amendment extends the MDCA’s validity, making it consistent with other bilateral defense cooperation agreements between NATO [Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization] allies and durable enough to allow for Greece and the US to advance security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond,” Blinken stated and called Greece a “strong and reliable ally.”
“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” Dendias said without explicitly mentioning Turkey. “Greece is committed to resolve disputes with diplomacy and always in accordance to international law” he added.
The MDCA which has been renewed each year since 1990 includes further investment in the four bases operated by the US military in Greece. The Greek daily Kathimerini reported that the deal would allow for expansions at military sites in Alexandroupoli – a port near the Turkish border -, Larissa, Stefanovikio and Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete, where the U.S. Navy has long maintained a presence. Proto Thema reported that U.S. troops will have access to a firing range at Litochoro, in Northern Greece.
The Greek government plans to submit the new deal to Parliament for ratification next week, as the timeframe is relatively tight, with the current agreement expiring on November 6.
The deal comes a few weeks after Greece signed a major defence agreement with France that will allow them to come to each other’s aid in the event of an external threat. Athens is buying three frigates at a cost of €3 billion ($3.5 billion). Earlier last month, Greece also announced that it was planning to buy another six Rafale fighter aircraft.
Greek officials also have been actively pursuing other international agreements, with
with other countries including Israel and the United Arab Emirates and others.