ATHENS – Yesterday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed a new agreement with the Greek Defense Minister that will allow Washington to have three new bases in Greece indefinitely.
The agreement signed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiatopoulos marks a new phase in relations between Washington and Athens.
Until then, the US had only one military base in Greece, Suda Bay in Crete, the result of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 1990.
Moreover, each year the permanence of American troops in the country required the approval of the Greek parliamentarians. With the new agreement, the length of stay of Washington troops is indefinite and does not need the approval of the legislature.
“In this new spirit we have plans for cooperation with the Americans with transfer of skills and infrastructure [bases] in Stefanovikeio, Larissa and Alexandroupolis. This reflects the common interests with mutual benefit for both sides,” published the words of Panagiatopoulos the Real newspaper.
According to the Greek minister, the agreement should strengthen cooperation between Washington and Athens.
The base in Larissa currently houses US unmanned MQ-9 Reaper aircraft. In Alexandropolis a helicopter base will be built and the city’s port will house US military units.
Already at the base of Stefanovikeio is planned to deploy attack helicopters.
Pompeo arrived in Greece for a 2-day visit to underline support for NATO’s ally, strengthen cooperation and sign an amendment to a mutual defense agreement.
In Athens, protesters occupied Syntagma square, shouting “Americans, murderers of peoples” as they played music through loudspeakers and remembered the famous revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Another protest took place in Thessaloniki, where protesters are passed Egnatia and Hagia Sophia Streets to Tsimiski Street and stop at the US Consulate before reaching the statue of Venizelos.