The renewal of the defense pact last week with the US further shields Greece from threats, according to Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in an interview with Kathimerini shortly after returning from Washington, where he signed the new five-year term framework for the presence of the US Armed Forces in Greece.
“This agreement takes relations with the United States to a new level. A level they had never encountered before. These relations had gone through various phases until the 1990s, when the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed,” he said, adding the relationship with the US has not just expanded, but “improved dramatically.”
“[Relations] have now acquired a strategic character. The Mitsotakis government has invested in this effort,” he said. The five-year renewal, he stressed, has a positive political and defense impact for Greece.
“Firstly, the US, as it looks to Asia and withdraws from Afghanistan and Iraq, is committed to stationing and deploying forces on Greek soil for at least the next five years and possibly for a much longer period. This presence further shields our country from external threats,” he said, noting that if a country plans to attack Greece, “it must take seriously the fact that American troops are stationed in our country.”
He also described as a “significant success for the country” the fact that in his letter to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last week, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken included a reference for the respect of Greece’s sovereign rights under the International Law of the Sea.
Dendias said that Turkish objections were not factored in, noting, among other things, that if they had carried enough currency, the US would not have chosen a camp in Alexandroupoli, a few kilometers from the Evros border region, nor the port of Souda on Crete, an island in the heart of the Eastern Mediterranean.
“It is extremely positive for our national interests that the US attaches particular importance to our country. It sees Greece as a country that can play a leading role in the Western Balkans and their accession to the European Union. They also treat us as a bridge between the Middle East and the Gulf with Europe. The particularly good relations we have developed in recent years with Israel and the major Arab countries play a key role,” he said.