NEWS

Athens eyes even stronger ties with US

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With the swearing in on Wednesday of the 46th US president, Joe Biden, the further strengthening of bilateral relations with Washington and the building of an autonomous strategic relationship that will not be affected by fluctuations in US-Turkish affairs remains the Greek government’s main goal.

Athens is eager to see what attitude Washington will adopt towards Turkey’s aggressive stance in the region and the rifts it is causing in NATO.

A first indication of Washington’s stance toward Ankara was given in the remarks by US Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken regarding the alignment of Turkey with strategic rival Russia via its purchase of the S-400 weapons systems. Moreover, the atmosphere in the Senate is not expected to be positive for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan given that Senator Bob Menendez, one of the pioneers of the expulsion of Turkey from the F-35 program, will chair the Foreign Relations Committee.

What Athens also expects is that the US, which in recent months had assigned this role to Germany, will return to the position of navigator in chief of stability in the region.

Symbolically, officials in Athens would like to see a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as early as March, to coincide with the celebrations of the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution.

The first issue to be wrapped up between Athens and Washington is the renewal of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA). The American side has already submitted an extensive list of sites (Greek bases) where it believes there can be an expansion of infrastructure for use by the US Armed Forces.

The Greek side is drawing up its own list in order to find common ground. Athens also wants to discuss a program worth 5 billion euros by the Navy for the supply of new frigates and the upgrading of older ones.