Greece to extend base access deal with US military

Greece says it's extending a bilateral military agreement with the United States for five years

ATHENS, Greece -- Greece is extending a bilateral military agreement with the United States for five years, with officials from the country’s center-right government arguing that enhanced alliances within NATO will help stabilize the region rattled by Russia's war in Ukraine and tension in the eastern Mediterranean.

It replaces an annual review of the deal with a five-year rollover period.

“We discussed how the US and Greece can work together to strengthen our remarkable ... alliance promoting security and prosperity, building on our fantastic momentum,” Tsunis tweeted.

Last year, Greece also finalized a bilateral defense deal with France in the wake of a tense naval standoff with fellow-NATO member Turkey in 2020. The two countries are locked in a decades-old dispute on sea boundaries and mineral rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking in parliament, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the alliances were key to the country’s defense strategy.

“We don’t have the luxury to be careless. We don’t have it. I wish we were Luxembourg, on national security issues. But we are not,” Dendias told lawmakers.

Earlier Thursday, protesters from the Greek Communist Party unfurled banners at the ancient Acropolis against the military deal. The banners, in Greek and English, read “No to war. No to the bases of death.”