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Politics

Ambassador Tsunis: US Committed to Upgrade of Greek Military, as Its Supports NATO’s SE Flank              

ΑTHENS – The United States’ commitment to the upgrade of the Greek military is demonstrated by the US-Greece collaboration in the field of defense, American Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis underlined at the 9th Delphi Economic Forum on Thursday.

In a chat with journalist Katerina Tsamouri, Tsunis referred to the Letter of Offer and Acceptance to the Greek defense ministry on Wednesday about the procurement of F-35s by Greece, noting that Greece is a very important partner of the US, as Greece supports NATO’s southeastern flank.

Asked to comment if Greeks should worry that Turkiye is purchasing F-16s from the US, Tsunis said the neighboring country has had F-16s for decades, just like Greece, and what the focus should be on instead is the significant improvement in Greek-Turkish relations, as both countries are NATO partners.

A snapshot from the second day of the 9th Delphi Economic Forum, Thursday 11 April 2024. (GIANNIS PANAGOPOULOS/EUROKINISSI)

As to talks about Greece contributing to the production of US Constellation-class multi-mission guided-missile frigates, Tsunis said it was a great issue and talks were sincere and serious, but there was no date as to when such a collaboration could begin.

In terms of American investments in Greece, the ambassador said that leading companies in his country had discovered Greece, while the country offered what US companies looked for, which was intellectual capital.

Speaking of the energy projects that are either ongoing or nearing completion in Greece, Tsunis said the United States saw the Vertical Corridor as key, and said it was necessary to stop being dependent on Russian natural gas and to restrict that country’s ability to weaponize energy. Russia’s energy exports allow it to invade sovereign states, he noted. With projects like the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis, the Trans Adriatic (TAP) natural gas pipeline, and the IGB natural gas pipeline with Bulgaria, Greece holds a key position in the efforts for energy transition and ending dependence on coal (lignite).

Among other issues, Ambassador Tsunis said there is no rift between the US and Israel over Gaza, and he called for united support to Ukraine in order for its citizens to reclaim their country. He also referred to the “Our Ocean Conference” taking place in Athens on April 16-17, which will bring to Greece leaders and representatives of over 120 states, and said the US embassy would attend the upcoming Europride event in Thessaloniki in June.

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