Greece will sign a wide-ranging defence deal with France in coming months, the two countries’ defence ministers said on Monday, months after a similar agreement was made between Athens and Washington.
“We have decided to reinforce bilateral defence and security cooperation in a very significant manner,” French Defence Minister, Florence Parly told reporters after talks with her Greek counterpart, Nikos Panagiotopoulos in Athens.
The agreement which is expected to be signed by June, will include joint naval and land exercises, defence industry cooperation and an “increased” French naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, Panagiotopoulos said.
Parly also stated that France will stand by Greece and Cyprus, supporting them both in their disputes with Turkey over maritime zones in the Mediterranean.
Tensions between Greece and Turkey are at a peak due to a number of issues ranging from mineral rights in the Aegean Sea, Turkey’s illegal drilling off Cyprus to ethnically split Cyprus.
“France intends to stand by Greece and help it to confront multiple tensions in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean,” Parly told To Vima newspaper.
She added that French President, Emmanuel Macron was clear when he met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in late January, that Paris and Athens were set to strengthen their defence cooperation.