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Greece, US expand defense deal

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Greece and the United States signed an agreement on Thursday to renew their long-standing defense cooperation. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) will allow the NATO allies to advance stability in the eastern Mediterranean and beyond.

“The MDCA is the bedrock of our defense cooperation,” Blinken said in a statement.

“Today’s amendment extends the MDCA’s validity, making it consistent with other bilateral defense cooperation agreements between NATO Allies and durable enough to allow for Greece and the United States to advance security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias sign the renewal of the U.S.-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement at the State Department in Washington, U.S. October 14, 2021 (Photo via U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Greece)

The two countries, which have strong political and economic ties, renewed their agreement for five years with an understanding that from then onward, it would remain in place indefinitely unless one of the parties chooses to withdraw.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the U.S. commitment to Greece showed that both countries are determined to safeguard and protect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The deal comes a few weeks Greece stirred further tensions with Turkey by signing a new defense pact with France. 

The Eastern Mediterranean has for decades seen NATO allies Greece and Turkey at odds with each other over competing territorial claims that extend into airspace, energy, and the status of some islands in the Aegean and the ethnically split island of Cyprus.

Tensions flared up last year when Turkish and Greek navy frigates escorted vessels exploring for hydrocarbons. The two sides are seeking to repair their frayed ties but differences remain.

Turkey and Greece held the last round of bilateral talks last week aimed at addressing differences in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

Source: Reuters

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