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Countering Turkey, Greece Moves to Expand Defense Alliances

Ευρωκίνηση

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and National Defence Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Tatiana Bolari)

ATHENS - Diplomacy failing to stop Turkish provocations and plans to hunt for energy off Greek islands, the New Democracy government is reaching out to broaden international alliances in North Africa, the Middle East and Gulf region.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos went to Saudi Arabia to sign an agreement for the transfer there of Greek Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and the stationing of 100-120 Hellenic Air Force personnel, said Kathimerini.

Dendias pointed out that the transfer of the Patriots to Saudi Arabia is “our contribution to the wider security of the energy sources of the West” and stressed that “Greek foreign policy, which has the main goal of connecting the country with the Gulf countries, has taken another step forward.”

Greece is part of the multinational force that assists in the air defense of Saudi Arabia along with countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Jordan and Pakistan, the report added.

This was the second deal that Dendias signed with Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council to establish consultations in a range of areas besides define, including trade and economic ties.

was a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of consultations on issues of common interest, as both sides are seeking a scheme that will allow closer economic cooperation.

Noting the participation of Arab countries in recent military exercises carried out in Greece, Dendias said they “create a front of understanding on the solid basis of international law,” in what was seen as a show of strength as well.

He said that all countries in the wider region that subscribe to international law as a means of communication and as a way of behaving “are welcome to this broader understanding that we seek, which has tangible signs of success.”

That is diplomatic code talk that came after Dendias was unusually blunt in a joint news conference in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Greek minister openly complaining about constant Turkish aggression.

Dendias also visited  Egypt and then went to the Cypriot town of Paphos to take part in the first quadripartite meeting of Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.