Greece and the UAE sign mutual defense clause

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the UAE on November 18, 2020.

The mutual defense clause between Greece and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in case either country is threatened, is perhaps the most important result of the visit of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Abu Dhabi last week.

According to well-informed sources, the two sides are committed to contributing to the defense and maintaining the security, sovereignty, unity, protection and territorial independence of Greece and the UAE, as far as possible and where practically possible.

The same sources pointed out that this is a clause of a purely defensive nature, which is legally the maximum that can be developed between two countries that do not have common borders and do not belong to common allied organizations.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the UAE on November 18, 2020.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the UAE on November 18, 2020.

It is emphasized that since the end of World War II, Greece has not entered into bilateral agreements of a similar nature.

Although the agreement explicitly emphasizes that its provisions are not directed against third parties, it is clear that it was signed by Athens and Abu Dhabi with a view of countering Turkey.

The government obviously considers the development a significant diplomatic success, as it strengthens the country’s security and territorial integrity.

The text of the agreement was signed in Abu Dhabi by the two countries’ Foreign Ministers Niko Dendias and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, under the watchful eye of the UAE Prime Minister and Crown Prince.

Greek entourage in the UAE on November 18, 2020.
Greek entourage in the UAE on November 18, 2020.

The implementation of the agreement will be monitored by joint committees, with the aim of exchanging classified information and stationing military forces of one country in the territory of another.

A very important aspect is the deepening of relations with participation of the UAE in multilateral formats, with countries such as Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and India.

Technician training

The Mutual Defense Assistance Clause has the characteristics of a Status of Forces Agreement type, the main purpose of which is to facilitate the stationing and relocation of military forces and the use of relevant infrastructure.

Last August, four UAE F-16-Es were stationed at Souda Air Base for a month, conducting exercises with the US Air Force, while in the east of Rhodes, the first episodes of tension with the Oruç Reis, with the two fleets of Greece and Turkey being in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

It has already been decided the UAE technicians from the UAE will have their accommodation at the Armor Training Center in Avlona and be trained at ODA.

All that remains is to upgrade this defense industry so that it can carry out the strategic task that the government intends for it.

Tomorrow, after the many turmoil’s of the past three months, the Parliament is expected to hear the new CEO of the long-suffering ODA company, Dimitris Papakostas, who had served ODA from this position in 2013.

Following the most important agreement that Greece has signed at the regional level in recent decades, the country’s diplomatic senses are focused on the other side of the Atlantic.

Already, individuals associated with the Maximos Palace and the State Department’s diplomatic apparatus are activated to maintain channels of communication with US President-elect Joe Biden.

The contacts existed anyway, during the previous period, however, careful steps are taken as, despite the indisputable election result, Athens does not logically want to appear to be choosing a side in the internal political game.

Obviously, the processes related to the new mechanism in the State Department are being followed with interest in Athens.

Reports are being read about the possible appointment of William Burns, a former Undersecretary of State and current President of the Carnegie Endowment, or Antony Blinken, will take the post of National Security Adviser to the new president.

Whatever the real US positions on the situation in the region, Athens wants the two months leading up to January 20 to pass as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The “front” with Turkey

Athens’ preference for a quiet two months until January 20 is by no means certain that it is in line with that of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The “show” in Varoshia, the apparent continuation of the activities of Oruç Reis until the end of November and the constant rhetorical outbursts keep Athens awake.

At the operational level, despite some overflights, it seems that the Turkish Armed Forces is not growing at the same rate as August and, as everything shows, this is largely due to the COVID-19 protection measures.

For Athens, this behavior is sufficient to lead to a substantial development against Turkey at the December 10th and 11th Summit. A seemingly simple, but in fact very essential detail is that the next EU Summit will be held via video conference due to a pandemic.

Also, in this European Council, the objections of Poland and Hungary should be overcome, in order to “unblock” the Recovery Fund, something that, unfortunately or fortunately, seems to be of interest to many more EU governments. at this stage.

Once again, the raising of the issue of Turkish aggression falls on France.

Vasilis Nedos is a correspondent for Kathimerini. 

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor