Along with the first six used French Rafale fighter jets that it will purchase in the first half of 2021, Greece will also secure the technical support of the Exocet missile systems carried by the Hellenic Air Force’s Mirage 2000 aircraft, according to Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos on Monday.
Panagiotopoulos said the support of the AM-39 Exocet missile systems carried by the Mirage 2000 will be included in the contract for the Rafales. The ministry plans to table legislation soon on the purchase of the Rafales and get it ratified within December.
Defense Ministry sources said very intensive discussions are currently under way between Athens and Paris, so that the first six Rafales that will be transferred to Greece in the first half of 2021 will have seen the least wear and tear possible.
The purchase of these jets is said to be eagerly awaited within the Hellenic Air Force, given the demand among pilots to be the first four to go to France to be trained on the new aircraft.
At the same time, Athens is reportedly trying to figure out the motivation behind Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s initiative to telephone his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias at the weekend in order to discuss how talks can start between the two sides, even though the Oruc Reis seismic vessel is still moving on a course south of Rhodes and Kastellorizo.
For his part, Dendias made it clear to Cavusoglu that talks cannot start while the Oruc Reis is operating within the Greek continental shelf.
Dendias on Monday addressed the teleconference of the 5th Euro-Arab Summit, stressing that relations between the European Union and the Arab world have relied on international law and the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter.
He also referred to the tripartite cooperation schemes in the East Med and their contribution to regional stability amid provocative actions by those who want to unilaterally and forcibly impose their agenda in the region.