Amid Greece-Turkey maritime dispute, US clears sale of nearly 9.5 billion warships and modernization of Athens


Amid tensions between Greece and Turkey, the US State Department has approved two arms sales to Greece, including new warships worth $ 6.9 billion and a modernization $ 2.5 billion ships, the Security and Defense Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a press release on Friday.

“The State Department has made a decision approving a possible foreign military sale to Greece of multi-mission surface combatant ships (MMSCs) and related equipment at an estimated cost of $ 6.9 billion,” he said. ‘agency. “The DSCA today issued the required certification advising Congress of this potential sale. “

The sale will include four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships; five COMBATSS-21 combat management systems; five vertical launch systems (VLS), [and] 200 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM), ”said the DSCA.

The U.S. government has also approved a Greek request to purchase equipment and services to repair, update and upgrade their four existing MEKO-class frigates at a cost of $ 2.5 billion, the DSCA noted in a report. second press release.

These upgrades will include eight Phalanx Close-Up Weapons Systems (CIWS) upgrade kits; four revisions of 5-inch MK 45 guns 54; four MK 49 guided missile launcher systems; four COMBATSS-21 combat management systems; and four revisions of the AN / SQS-56 sonar, the DSCA said.

Multi-mission surface fighter (MMSC) | Lockheed Martin

Greece is building up its military force and forming alliances as it engages in a bitter dispute with neighboring Turkey.

United States-Greece Partnership

Earlier in November, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said the US-Greece partnership under the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) posed no threat to Turkey.

On October 14, the United States and Greece signed an amendment to their existing mutual defense agreement that allows U.S. forces to train and operate from other locations inside Greece.

Under the agreement, Washington acquires an extremely important base in Alexandroupolis. Many experts believe the deal is directed against Russia. In turn, the Greek authorities say that US bases will protect the country in the event of an attack from Turkey.

Vertical launch system - Wikipedia
Vertical launch system – Wikipedia

“The alliance between the United States and Greece, as manifested in East Macedonia and Thrace, does not constitute a threat to Turkey. It is about strengthening the credibility of our alliance commitments. It is about developing Greece’s strength for NATO’s southeast flank and deepening the bilateral military partnership between us, which, as the new MDCA demonstrates, is stronger than it is. has never been. Something that is good for Greece, good for the United States, but also good for our alliance, ”said Pyatt at the Thessaloniki summit in 2021, commenting on concerns expressed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan over the American presence in Greece.

When asked to assess defense cooperation and strategic dialogue between Greece and the United States, Pyatt said bilateral relations were “at their peak, but not at the top.” said Pyatt. He also announced an upcoming rotation of American troops via the port of Alexandroupolis.

“Our defense relationship, I think everyone agrees, is stronger than it has ever been. We will demonstrate that over the next two weeks with a very high rotation of forces across Alexandroupolis “, He had declared.

The MDCA has become the second renewed three-year mutual military cooperation agreement – the previous one signed in October 2019. Greece’s Foreign Ministry said the agreement strengthens the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

United States-France partnership

Earlier in October, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the defense agreement between France and Greece can be seen as the first step towards European strategic autonomy.

Greek lawmakers have ratified the historic defense agreement with France. Under the terms of the agreement, Athens will purchase three French frigates, with an option to purchase another, in 2025-2026. In addition, the two countries have pledged to help each other in the event of an armed attack against either.

Greece and the Rafale - Press kits
Rafale for Greece – Dassault Aviation

“This historic text is brought to the attention of Parliament, making today’s debate historic, because its adoption means protecting the country, strengthening the southern European flank of the agreement, but is also the first effort towards l ‘strategic autonomy for Europe,’ Mitsotakis said. was quoted by the Kathimerini newspaper.

The first frigate will arrive at the Salamis naval base in 2025, according to the Prime Minister. The defense agreement between Greece and France was concluded in Paris on September 28 in the presence of Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron. The agreement was signed by the defense and foreign ministers of the two countries.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias asserted that the defense agreement between Greece and France is not directed against other countries and that Turkey’s statements criticizing the agreement are “totally unacceptable”.

“If Turkey is embarrassed by these agreements, it can only mean that it considers itself a potential aggressor,” said Dendias, quoted by the Kathimerini newspaper after his meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

He further stressed that the agreement with France was “purely defensive” and “not directed against anyone”, as cited in the report. Dendias also noted that Greece signed a similar deal with the United Arab Emirates last year and called Turkey’s claims “completely unacceptable.”

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