The US Department of Defense has issued a readout of the telephone conversation between US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos that took place amid a serious escalation of tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey.
According to the report, “the two leaders agreed on the need for all parties to abide by international norms and maintain restraint” in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa.
Esper reaffirmed the strong defense relationship between the US and Greece, it said.
“The Secretary thanked Minister Panagiotopoulos for hosting US forces at Souda Bay, and for our strong bilateral cooperation. This is marked, most recently, by the updating of the US-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement last October, which enables opportunities to further deepen US-Greek defense cooperation and advance regional security and stability,” the report said.
Esper and Panagiotopoulos also discussed mutual security concerns in southeast Europe and across NATO's Southern Flank, “including Russian malign influence and growing concerns from China.”
“Esper recognized Greece for exceeding NATO defense spending goals, which is a vital investment into strengthening our alliance.”