US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken described his signing today with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias of the revised, bilateral Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) as the deepening of cooperation between “two proud NATO Allies».
The agreement provides for a five-year extension of the agreement signed in 2019 between the two sides and an indefinite extension thereafter.
It also gives the US four additional bases on Greek territory.
Protecting sovereignty and territorial integrity
In his remarks at the signing, Dendias stressed that Greece faces a “threat of war” in the Eastern Mediterranean if it exercises its rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In his remarks, Dendias essentially underlined that Greece looks to its strategic partnership with the US in defending its territorial integrity [threatened with Turkish aggression], and firstly Ankara’s threat of war if Greece exercises its right to extend its territorial waters from six to 12nm.
“You are underlining that the US, as well as Greece, are firmly determined to mutually safeguard and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, against actions threatening to peace, including armed attack or threat thereof. In the Eastern Mediterranean, where Greece is facing a casus belli, a threat with war if it exercises its sovereign rights, and I have to say, Greece is facing daily provocations. Greece is committed to resolve disputes through diplomacy and always in accordance with International Law,” Dendias said.
“We very highly appreciate your firm belief that sovereign rights should be respected in accordance with the International Law of the Sea,» he declared.
Blinken: ‘MDCA the bedrock of our defence cooperation’
For his part, Blinken underlined that with the revision of the defence accord US forces will have access to more [military facility] locations and he described Greece as a trustworthy ally.
In his statement on the signing, Blinken said that that the MDCA is the «bedrock of our defence cooperation» and that both the US and Greece’s are advancing «security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond:
«The MDCA is the bedrock of our defense cooperation and has helped strengthen our common defense for more than three decades. This second amendment to the MDCA in as many years demonstrates the continued ability and resolve of the United States and Greece to address the security challenges of today and tomorrow through our strategic relationship.»
‘Eastern Mediterranean security and stability’
«The amendment to the MDCA deepens and expands on our partnership to maintain strong, capable, and interoperable militaries. The MDCA has allowed for U.S. forces to train and operate within Greek territory since 1990. Today’s amendment extends the MDCA’s validity, making it consistent with other bilateral defense cooperation agreements between NATO Allies and durable enough to allow for Greece and the United States to advance security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond.»
Greek defence spending
«The United States welcomes Greece’s continued investment in defense capabilities and its commitment to fulfilling the pledge it made at the NATO Wales Summit. Our defense relationship is rooted in a common history and shared values and interests going back more than two centuries. Our shared values extend to efforts beyond our defense cooperation and include a partnership in addressing climate change, increasing bilateral investment and trade opportunities, and strengthening educational and cultural connections. These efforts ensure that the U.S.-Greece relationship is stronger than ever.
Dendias welcomes new round of US-Greece strategic dialogue
For his part, Dendias said it is a great honour and joy for him to open the third round of the US-Greece strategic dialogue in Washington and he underscored the dedication of the US to its alliance with Greece.
“The US is concerned about challenges in the world,” Dendias said, adding that Greece and the US are determined to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity and that their actions aim to safeguard peace and stability.
Strengthening the European flank of NATO
“Greece is a Mediterranean country and it faces a threat of war if it exercises its sovereign rights,” Dendias said, alluding to Turkey.
He noted that in the last two years Greece has signed agreements to delimit its Exclusive Economic Zone with Italy and Egypt, and that it is very close to an agreement with Albania.
“We appreciate the view of the US that international law must be respected,” Dendias said.
He noted that Athens is making even firmer its relations with mutual strategic allies of Greece and the US, such as Israel.
He also underlined that Greece feels a “heightened responsibility for the integration of the Western Balkans”.
‘Greece-France accord strengthens NATO’s European flank’
Dendias in addressing the US Secretary of State also referred to the recent Greece-France strategic defence agreement, saying that it will “help us improve the defence and will strengthen the European flank of NATO”.