Athens, Riyadh to ink Patriot deal on Tuesday

Athens, Riyadh to ink Patriot deal on Tuesday

A major agreement that foresees the stationing of Greek Patriot missile defense systems in Saudi Arabia along with 100-120 Hellenic Air Force personnel will be signed on Tuesday in Riyadh. 

The signing ceremony will be attended by ​​​​​​Foreign and Defense ministers Nikos Dendias and Nikos Panagiotopoulos.

For Athens, the Hellenic Air Force’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s air defense is a political and operational priority, and Riyadh is reportedly particularly responsive to this plan.

This was reflected in Riyadh’s participation with Saudi F-15s in an exercise in Souda in Crete last March, as well as another that will take place in May.

Greek Defense Ministry sources said the Saudi agreement will enable the Hellenic Air Force to join the US, UK, France, Italy, Jordan and Pakistan in the multinational force which provides assistance to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s defenses against terrorism. On the part of Saudi Arabia, there is also an intention to further develop relations with Greece in areas beyond defense, such as tourism, bilateral trade and investment.

Panagiotopoulos and Dendias will be received by the successor to the throne, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defense minister and deputy prime minister.

They will also meet with Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Salman and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

Meanwhile on Monday, the Greek Defense Ministry announced that after contacts with the Turkish side, an agreement was reached for a fourth round of talks on confidence building measures. 

The third round had taken place in Athens in February 2020. As clarified, the date and details of the fourth round, which will take place in Turkey, will be determined soon.

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