WASHINGTON — Greek National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos made a forecast that the process for the renewal of the Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) between Greece and the USA will be completed within the next two months.
Speaking at an online event organised on Tuesday by the think tank "Center for Strategic and International Studies" in Washington, Panagiotopoulos said that the aim of the new agreement is to further improve defence cooperation between Athens and Washington, which is already at a historically high level.
According to the Greek national defence minister, there are two main scenarios for the new agreement. The first is related to the expansion of the US presence in new locations, while the second has to do with the further improvement of the existing infrastructure. However, Panagiotopoulos estimated that the most likely possibility is to upgrade the already strategically selected locations that are currently in operation. In this context, he referred to the Souda Base, the port of Alexandroupolis and the two air bases in Central Greece. Regarding the Gulf of Souda, he noted that it offers the only port in the Eastern Mediterranean that can accommodate an aircraft carrier.
Referring to the importance of this new MDCA, Panagiotopoulos noted that it consolidates the strategic relationship between Greece and the United States. The Greek minister stressed that this relationship is not based solely on a conjuncture or having the same interests, but on the common values of freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law, which both countries advocate as stable and dependable allies in Europe and NATO.
Panagiotopoulos said that Greece has evolved into a dependable ally, on which the US can rely to promote regional stability. In this light, he referred to the ambitious programme that Greece is implementing for the modernisation of its Armed Forces. The specific programme, taking place in the context of the restrictions imposed by the economic situation of Greece includes, among others, the purchase of Rafale fighters, the supply of four new frigates and the modernisation of four existing frigates. As the minister explained, Greece wants to make a dynamic contribution to the collective security of NATO, but also to project a strong deterrent against all those who threaten its sovereign rights.