Athens wants an American military presence in Greece – and in the north of the country in particular – because this serves the national interest, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Speaking during a debate in Parliament on the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) signed between Greece and the United States, Dendias said that extending the deal from a period of one year to five was agreed at Athens’ initiative, while revealing that the Greek side had mulled an even bigger extension.
“We were not doing the US any favors. We are generous towards the country’s interest. We wanted five years and I won’t hide that the government even considered 10. We want the military presence. We did not pretend to be the ones who want the bases the gone… We wanted and we still want a [US] presence in Thrace… We want the US military presence in Alexandroupoli,” he said, describing the use of the northern Greek port by the American military as “one of the most important elements of the agreement.”