'Greece turning to France as US holds out on weapons'
Athens fostering closer ties with Paris to secure weapons denied by Washington, says Greek deputy minister
The US’ reluctance to give Greece modern arms and weapons systems is pushing Athens to turn to France, according to a Greek minister.
Athens has been working to strengthen ties with Paris to access the weapons that it has been unable to procure from Washington, Angelos Syrigos, the Greek deputy education minister said in a recent radio interview.
“The US has traditionally observed a balance of power between Turkiye and Greece,” said Syrigos, who is also a scholar of international relations and Turkish-Greek ties.
Turkiye has repeatedly warned Greece against an arms race, offering instead to resolve all outstanding issues, including in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus, through dialogue.
Syrigos said Washington failed to act on Greece’s request for additional updated versions of AIM-120 air-to-air missiles and the SM-2 ship-launched air defense missiles.
Athens is now aiming to get the French alternatives – Aster-30 and Meteor missiles – and its deal with Paris last year for three FDI class frigates and 24 Rafale fighter jets was part of this effort, he explained.
Apart from the deal with France, Greece has also recently signed agreements with Israel for drones and missiles, as well as one with the US for updates of its F-16 fighter jet fleet.
Last month, Washington also approved the sale of four warships worth $6.9 billion to Athens.