The United States proposes in the new defense agreement to provide for the deployment of the US military at several dozen military facilities in Greece and to update the agreement every five years, rather than annually, the newspaper To Vima writes.
This will be the second updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) in three years. Before that, Greece and the United States signed an updated agreement in October 2019. It provides for the expansion of the US base of the Court, providing the Americans with the infrastructure of the bases of Stefanovikeio, Larisa, and Alexandroupolis, and the possibility, in agreement with Greece, to use any military facility on its territory. Before that, the United States had only one base – Suda in Crete.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, speaking in parliament in October 2020, said that Greece plans to expand the defense agreement with the United States or sign a new one. Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Papaioannou confirmed the talks at a briefing on February 18. According to him, the agreement is planned to be signed in the personal presence of the parties in the fall.
“The American side basically demands two things: a) a temporary extension of the agreement, for a period of time, for example, five years (so that it is not updated annually), b) the addition of new locations (they say that the Americans have submitted a document with more than 20 new locations), where American forces could be stationed while rotating their presence in Greece,” the newspaper writes.
“However, the creation of a new permanent base such as Suda is not discussed, and the proposed locations, including islands such as Skyros, are among other areas where Greek and American troops are already undergoing joint training or which are also NATO infrastructure,” To Vima writes.
The implementation of the agreement, if it is reached, will not be difficult since the technical and legal details are known from the negotiations on the previous agreement, the newspaper writes.
The official representative of the Greek Foreign Ministry, Alexandros Papaioannou, at a briefing on February 18, refused to talk about the details of the new agreement, but, speaking about the terminology, said that “when we talk about American bases, these are not the American bases that were during the Cold War,” this is “a different framework.” The parties “went on a completely different path in terms of defense cooperation with the United States.”