US military gains access to more bases in Greece


ATHENS

The US-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) ratified by the Greek parliament on Thursday night will allow the US military to gain access to three more bases in Greece in addition to the current one it operates.

Through the agreement that was inked in October 2021 in Washington DC, the two countries aim to deepen and expand their defense cooperation.

It will permit the US military to use Georgula Barracks in Greece’s central province of Volos, Litochoro Training Ground, and army barracks in the northeastern port city of Alexandroupoli apart from the naval base in Souda Bay in Crete which the US has operated since 1969.

The Greek-US MDCA, first signed in 1990, has been renewed in successive periods, with the last extension in 2019.

It was previously subjected to annual renewal, but the amendments allowed an extension of another five years.

During the heated debate at the parliament’s plenary session on the agreement, the leader of the main opposition party SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras accused the government of giving away everything to the US without receiving anything substantial.

He also noted that the government has abandoned the decades-old principles of the Greek foreign policy that minded the regional and global balances and rendered Greece “a front country of NATO.”

Also speaking at the session, the head of the Communist Party of Greece Dimitris Koutsoumpas said the agreement would not protect Greece in case of an armed conflict with Turkiye.

The US is only interested in ensuring cohesion in the southeastern wing of NATO, he stressed, adding that the agreement is turning the country into a huge military base for NATO and the US.

The parliament eventually ratified the agreement with 181 votes in favor and 119 against.



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