Parliament ratifies revised defense deal with US

Parliament ratifies revised defense deal with US

Greek lawmakers on Thursday ratified an agreement with the United States for a major expansion of military cooperation.

The deal was ratified with 175 votes to 33. Eighty lawmakers voted “present.”

The Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed in October by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Athens.

The deal provides for increased joint US-Greece and NATO activities at Greek military bases and facilities in Larissa, Stefanovikio, and Alexandroupolis, in central and northern Greece, as well as infrastructure and other improvements at the Souda Bay US naval base on the island of Crete.

The US Air Force is already operating MQ-9 Reaper drones out of Larissa airbase.

SYRIZA opposition voted against ratifying the deal, arguing that Greece should first seek a more comprehensive commitment of support from the United States against Turkey’s provocations in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused SYRIZA, which had negotiated the deal as government, of inconsistency driven by political expediency.

[Kathimerini, AP]