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Opposition flays Greek government over renewed US defense pact

Opposition warns US deal offers little to protect Greece’s sovereign rights, could drag Athens into 'dangerous plans'

Magda Panoutsopoulou   | 15.10.2021
Opposition flays Greek government over renewed US defense pact FILE PHOTO

ATHENS

Opposition parties in Greece have lambasted the government’s decision to renew a long-standing defense agreement with the US, terming certain conditions of the deal “dangerous” and “unthinkable,” while warning that Athens stands to lose more than it gains in the bargain.

Syriza, the country’s main opposition force, said the renewed Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, or MDCA, could drag Athens into unwanted regional tensions.

There is possibility of tensions in the Black Sea region as the agreement includes a military installation in the northeastern coastal city of Alexandroupolis that allows the deployment of US troops to Bulgaria and Romania, the party said in a statement.

“This could put Greece on the frontline of potential tensions in the Black Sea,” Syriza warned, while also accusing the government of presenting generalizations about Greece’s sovereign rights.

It pointed out that Kyriakos Mitsotakis “is the country's first prime minister in modern times to provide military facilities on Greek soil to another country indefinitely.”

Moreover, the MDCA does not clearly specify the US’ role or involvement to support Greece’s sovereignty amid tensions with Turkey, especially in the Aegean and the East Mediterranean, the Syriza statement concluded.

Dimitris Koutsoumbas, leader of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), said the agreement threatens to embroil Greece in “dangerous plans of the US, NATO, and the EU.”

“Greece is a champion in military spending. There is no money for the people, but it is given to the French and American military industrial complexes while the Greek [defense industry] is allowed to go into decline and shut down,” he said an interview with Real FM radio station on Friday.

He underlined that the MDCA does not help Greece defend its sovereign rights and territory but involves it in the “dangerous plans of the US, NATO, and the EU in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, and North and Sub-Saharan Africa that target Russia and China.”

The Greek Solution party said Mitsotakis and his administration had no right to make commitments that would impact future Greek governments.

“According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the government has just committed Greece to an ‘indefinite’ defense agreement, a fact that is unprecedented and unthinkable,” the party said in a statement.

The agreement does not guarantee Greece’s sovereign rights nor does it negate the “threat of war” with Turkey, it added.

First signed in 1990, the MDCA has been renewed multiple times over the past three decades, with the last extension in 2019.

The latest extension comes a week after the Greek Parliament ratified a pact with France under which Athens will buy three French frigates that will be delivered in 2025 and 2026.

The deal with Paris also includes enhanced security cooperation between the two countries, a move hailed by both sides as a step toward European strategic autonomy.

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