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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



US defense interest goes beyond Souda Bay

While US interest in boosting defense ties with Greece remains strong, there is little scope for expanding the US naval base in Souda Bay on Crete, so authorities are considering other options, Kathimerini understands.

It is clear that boosting Greek-American ties and supporting the cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel in the region are of key strategic interest to the US.

A diplomat with knowledge of the situation told Kathimerini that ties between Athens and Washington are the best they have been for 50 years.

The sentiment is echoed by US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, who has repeatedly stressed that defense is a key pillar of cooperation between the two countries.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell is also said to be increasingly supportive of a more pivotal role in the region for both Greece and Cyprus.

According to sources, Mitchell has been of the opinion that Greece has the opportunity to “play ball” since Turkey has become a more volatile factor in the region.

As regards Souda Bay, which accommodates aircraft carriers and repair facilities for destroyers, its prospects for expansion are limited, so authorities are said to be considering a new base in southern Crete to host special forces following the transfer of MQ-9 drones to a US base in Larissa.

Vassilis Nedos

 

Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/232644/article/ekathimerini/news/us-defense-interest-goes-beyond-souda-bay

 


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