ATHENS – Hoping to further extend and tighten military ties with the United States, Greek negotiators are said to be using talks to add more American bases around the country.
The discussions will likely go up the deadline on Oct. 14 when Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will go to Washington to sign the Mutal Defense Cooperation Agreement (MCDA) and a third session of the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue takes place, said Kathimerini.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has indicated he would like the MCDA to be for five years instead of being renewed annually and has been trying to cozy up further with the US as Turkey has increased provocations over seas disputes.
The report said that Greece sees the deal as bringing more investment opportunities through the US Congress in the facilities used by US forces in Greece and that more bases means more money.
The New Democracy government reportedly wants US forces at Greek military facilities, including the Air Force, on the island of Skyros in the central Aegean and in some locations in Thrace, as well as in Andravida, in the Peloponnese.
For whatever reason – the US is said to want an expanded military presence in Greece – those discussion haven't been received well on the American side as the US wants to try to stay friendly with Turkey at the same time for its own interests, President Joe Biden – a known Hellenophile – wanting to stay close with Greece's rival and neighbor.
The newspaper said that American diplomats feel no need to be tougher on Turkey after that country was barred from buying US-made F-35 fighter jets after purchasing Russian made S-400 missile defense systems that could be used against Greece in a conflict and undermine NATO, the defense alliance to which all three countries belong.
So important is the US as an ally and military partner that even the former ruling anti-American Radical Left SYRIZA, which vowed to end any US military presence and take Greece out of NATO, caved on both counts and worked to also tighten the relationship even more.