Greece to extend base access deal with US military

Greece is extending a bilateral military agreement with the United States for five years, with officials from the country’s center-right government arguing that enhanced alliances within NATO will help stabilize the region rattled by Russia’s war in Ukraine and tension in the eastern Mediterranean, report informs via the Associated Press.

The agreement will grant the US military continued access to three bases in mainland Greece together with its long-standing naval presence on the island of Crete.

It replaces an annual review of the deal with a five-year rollover period.

US Ambassador George J. Tsunis met Thursday with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is traveling to Washington for a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday.

Last year, Greece also finalized a bilateral defense deal with France in the wake of a tense naval standoff with fellow-NATO member Turkey in 2020. The two countries are locked in a decades-old dispute on sea boundaries and mineral rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking in parliament, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the alliances were key to the country’s defense strategy.

“We don’t have the luxury to be careless. We don’t have it. I wish we were Luxembourg, on national security issues. But we are not,” Dendias told lawmakers.

The main opposition party, the leftist Syriza, opposed the agreement, arguing that it didn’t provide Athens with sufficient security guarantees.

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