France, Greece sign defence deal; Athens to buy 3 warships

France and Greece on Tuesday introduced a multibillion-euro protection deal, together with Athens’ determination to purchase three French warships as a part of a method to spice up its defence capacities within the Jap Mediterranean amid recurring tensions with longtime foe Turkey.

President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis introduced a defence and safety strategic partnership in a joint information convention in Paris.

“This partnership expresses our will to extend and intensify our cooperation within the defence and safety sector primarily based on our mutual pursuits,” Macron mentioned. It’ll “assist defend the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity of each states.”

Greece will buy three French frigates to be constructed by defence contractor Naval Group in Lorient, in western France. The deal consists of an choice for the acquisition of a fourth frigate.

Mitsotakis mentioned it comes “out of nationwide motivation to protect our nation,” but additionally has “a European motive because it strengthens our frequent defence business.”

“Greece and France are as we speak taking a daring first step in direction of European strategic autonomy,” he added, saying it is paving the way in which in direction of “a Europe that … will be capable of defend (its pursuits) within the wider area, within the jap Mediterranean, within the Center East.”

The announcement comes at a key time for France after the loss this month of a US$66 billion deal to promote diesel-electric submarines to Australia, which as a substitute selected to accumulate nuclear-powered submarines offered by the U.S. The three-way strategic defence alliance introduced by Australia, the U.Ok. and the U.S. got here as a shock to French officers.

Greece has already purchased 18 French Rafale fighter jets and plans to buy one other six beneath a program to modernize its armed forces.

Macron and Mitsotakis did not instantly disclose additional particulars of the deal. A high French official mentioned the deal was value “a number of billion” euros.

Tensions between Greece and historic regional rival Turkey have elevated in recent times over gasoline exploration rights within the jap Mediterranean and waters between the 2 international locations.

Each international locations have been at loggerheads for many years over a protracted collection of points, together with territorial rights within the Aegean Sea, maritime and aviation boundaries, and minority rights.


Derek Gatopoulos contributed to this story from Athens, Greece

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