Greeece will soon begin negotiations with the US on the purchase of fifth-generation F-35 fighters as part of efforts to strengthen both the Greek armed forces and NATO’s eastern and southeastern flanks, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
“We will launch the process for the acquisition of a squadron of F-35 aircraft, and we do hope to be able to add this fantastic plane to the Greek Air Force before the end of this decade,” Mitsotakis said at a White House reception hosted by US President Joe Biden on Monday.
The Greek prime minister noted that bilateral relations between Athens and Washington are currently at their highest level, as evidenced by the recently signed defense and cooperation agreement. In particular, the Greek navy and NATO forces have been working together at the naval base at Souda Bay on Crete and in the port of Alexandroupolis, located about 500 miles south of the Ukrainian border.
Mitsotakis also pointed out the need for the US and Europe to stand together in supporting Ukraine and the core values of liberal democracies.
“Neo-imperial fantasies belong to other centuries. They must not succeed. And they must not succeed not only for the sake of Ukraine but to send an obvious signal to other authoritarian leaders that a unified and forceful response will meet any violation of sovereignty,” the Greek prime minister said.
Mitsotakis called for further sanctions against Russia, stressing the need to bring down high energy prices that have put a heavy burden on populations.
“As we reduce our dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, we also need to use our market power as larger gas purchases to deliver short-term relief to our households and our businesses,” the Greek prime minister said.
In addition, he urged Biden to promote the resumption of negotiations on the Cyprus settlement.
“You are extremely knowledgeable about the Cyprus issue. And please, use all your influence to put the negotiation process back on track by the U.N. Security Council resolutions. No one can or will accept a two-state solution in Cyprus,” Mitsotakis said.
The Greek prime minister concluded by noting that relations between Athens and Washington go far beyond shared security and can boast active cooperation in trade, tourism and technology and a large number of cultural exchanges.