With the discussions on the new Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) between Athens and Washington ongoing, Greek military sources have told Kathimerini that regardless of the form this deal will take, a second naval base will be created at Souda on Crete.
The new base is part of the national operational plan for the coming years and is linked to the decision for Greece to establish a more permanent presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Practically speaking, Athens wants to gradually create a naval base that can increasingly include a large number of fleet units.
As far as the technical part of the negotiations is concerned, Greece’s most pressing request concerns the integration of the air and naval facilities on the island of Skyros, which the US Armed Forces will be able to use on rotating or a fixed basis.
Based on the existing provisions of the MDCA, the American armed forces have, apart from Souda, a rotating presence in a number of other locations, such as Stefanovikeio, the port of Alexandroupoli and Larissa Air Base.
For Athens, the possible addition of another location to the wider region of Eastern Macedonia or Thrace (Xanthi or Chrysoupoli airport, which was once considered a stopover for NATO UAVs) would always be welcome.
However, due to its geography and the strategic position it holds in the heart of the Greek defense, Skyros is considered Athens’ most important request.
The final act of the negotiations will be played out on October 14, when Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will go to Washington to sign the MDCA.
As clearly hinted by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the new MDCA will be for five years.
Dendias’ visit to Washington will also coincide, among other things, with the third round of the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue.