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French Defense Chief Coming to Athens to Sign Fighter Jet Deal

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 file photo, a French flag flies near Rafale warplanes on the deck of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, docked at Cyprus main port of Limassol. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

French Defense Minister Florence Parly is scheduled to visit Athens Jan. 25 sign a deal seeing Greece buy 18 Rafale fighter jets made by the French company Dassault, beefing up its arsenals as trouble keeps brewing with Turkey.

Greek lawmakers approved the purchase of six new and 12 used Rafale aircraft from France for 2.5 billion euros ($3.04 billion) earlier this month as the New Democracy government also is eager to get US-made F-35 jets.

Those were denied Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bought Russian S-400 missile defense systems that could be used against Greece and undermine the security of NATO, the defense alliance to which Greece and Turkey belong.

Sources not named told the newspaper that Parly, who also spoke on the telephone with Greek defense chief Nikos Panagiotopoulos, will also propose selling Greece French Belh@rra frigates and for a ship to be used by Greece too in the meantime.