U.S Secretary of state Mike Pompeo signed a protocol of amendment to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) between Greece and the US, which relates to the use of Souda Base in Crete and the airbases of Stefanovikeio and Larissa in central Greece and the port of Alexandroupoli.
Pompeo participated in the signing ceremony of the U.S.-Greece Mutual Defense Agreement with Greek Foreign Minister Nikolaos Dendias in Athens on October 5, 2019.
Both officials emphasised the importance of the deal in promoting stability in the broader region.
“I have come to Greece to expand the partnership that’s already at the best level it has ever been,” Pompeo said after signing a revised mutual defense cooperation agreement.
For the first time, Greece is consenting to an indefinite agreement that does not need to be renewed each year. In return, US armed forces are expected to expand the Sixth Fleet’s base on the southern island of Crete and create drone bases and permanent helicopter training facilities in central Greece.
The US is also set to establish a new naval and air force base in the northeast Greek city of Alexandroupoli to supply NATO allies Bulgaria and Romania. This bypasses the current route through the Bosphorus, controlled by Turkey.
“A strong and prosperous Greece is good for the Greek people and good for America,” Pompeo said in a tweet on Saturday.
Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, told Pompeo “We are opening a new chapter in our history. Our relationship has truly never been as strong as today.”
The military and energy aspects of the enhanced US-Greek relationship also highlights the tense US-Turkey relationship, which recently took a dramatic turn for the worse when Turkey sent state-owned drillships to explore for oil and gas in waters claimed by European Union member Cyprus.
“We’ve made clear that operations in international waters are governed by a set of rules,” Pompeo said. “We’ve told the Turks that illegal drilling is unacceptable.”
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also called the agreement a “factor for stability in the region”.