Kam­menos makes US over­tures

De­fense min­is­ter to have meet­ing with Amer­i­can coun­ter­part in Wash­ing­ton today

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

De­fense Min­is­terPanos Kam­menos said yes­ter­day that he would like to dis­cuss with US au­thor­i­ties the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­tend­ing the Mu­tual De­fense Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment (MDCA) be­tween the two coun­tries from one year to five years, or even more.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day dur­ing an event at the US Congress or­ga­nized by the Greek Amer­i­can In­sti­tute, Kam­menos said he was in the US to meet with Sec­re­tary of De­fense James Mat­tis and “dis­cuss the ex­ten­sion of our de­fense co­op­er­a­tion, not just for one more year, but for the next five or 10 years.”

The MDCA is cur­rently re­newed an­nu­ally, and it is through this deal that the Americans have per­mis­sion to use the naval base at Souda, Crete.

Kam­menos has made no se­cret of his de­sire to in­clude Greece in Amer­i­can mil­i­tary aid pro­grams, like Is­rael and Egypt. Both these coun­tries have ben­e­fited from their agree­ments with the ac­qui­si­tion of ships and air­craft from the US.

On the level of de­fen­sive co­op­er­a­tion, Athens cur­rently re­ceives aid from the US, but not in the form of heavy arms, like Is­rael and Egypt.

The de­fense min­is­ter, who has ex­pressed a will­ing­ness to al­low an Amer­i­can base on a Greek is­land – pos­si­bly Karpathos – also de­scribed the US as a “true ally” that has helped in the re­con­struc­tion of Greece.

The Greek De­fense Min­istry has al­ready sent let­ters to Wash­ing­ton ask­ing for help in mod­ern­iz­ing the coun­try’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets, and has in­quired about the price and avail­abil­ity of fifth-gen­er­a­tion F-35 jets.

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