Greece is examining US proposals for military cooperation which would widen ties to an extent not seen in the last three decades, Kathimerini understands. According to sources, Washington’s desire for stronger ties stems from its view that Greece has a significant geopolitical role to play as a pillar of stability in a volatile region.
More specifically, Washington has proposed the participation of a Greek military vessel in a carrier battle group (CVBG), which consists of an aircraft carrier and a large number of escort vessels.
According to the US proposals, the participation of a Greek vessel in the CVBG will be accompanied by the renewal of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) between the two countries. The MDCA is of utmost significance as it is through this pact that American military forces are permitted to use the Souda naval base on Crete.
During a meeting last week US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos discussed the option of renewing the agreement for five to 10 years instead of each year, as has been the case to date. The Americans reportedly want to renew the deal every five years, as they want to expand the scope of their activities at the base.
Sources have told Kathimerini that the only possible obstacle to the deal’s renewal on a five-year basis is that it must receive approval in Parliament, and the leftist-led coalition fears the possibility of dissent emanating from lawmakers of ruling SYRIZA.