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Pompeo welcomes ratification by Greek Parliament of updated US-Greece defense deal

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the ratification by Greek Parliament on Thursday of an agreement with the US for a significant expansion of military cooperation.

In a tweet, Pompeo said the updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement agreement is “a strategic touchstone in our defense relationship.”

“Greece is a key NATO ally, and we’ll continue to build on our strong partnership and promote stability in the region,” he said.

The deal was ratified with 175 votes against 33 while 80 MPs voted “present.”

The Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed in October by Pompeo during a visit to Athens. It stipulates increased joint US-Greece and NATO activities at Greek military bases and facilities in Larissa, Stefanovikeio, and Alexandroupoli, in central and northern Greece.

It also foresees infrastructure and other improvements at the Souda Bay US naval base on Crete. 

Main opposition SYRIZA, which had negotiated the deal when it was the government, voted against it, claiming that Athens should have secured a stronger commitment from Washington that it would support Greece against Turkey’s provocations in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.