Greece negotiates with fighter jets as East Made tension increases – Source

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece is negotiating with France and other countries on arms purchases to boost its armed forces, a government official told Reuters on Tuesday, as tensions over energy resources increase in the eastern Mediterranean region .

FILE PHOTO: This unattainable handout image, acquired by Reuters on August 13, 2020, during a joint military exercise in the Mediterranean, shows a woman looking through a telescope while building Greek and French ships. Greek Ministry of Defense / REUTERS

A day earlier, Greece’s finance minister said that the country is ready to spend part of its cash reserves on arms purchases and other means after years of belt-tightening defense purchases, increasing its “detention force” will help.

“We are negotiating with France, not only with France, to enhance our country’s defense capability,” a government official told Reuters. “Within this framework, there is a discussion that involves the purchase of aircraft.”

The official said that no final decision was made. Greek media reported on Monday that Athens had agreed to obtain 18 Dassault-built Rafale fighter jets from France.

“There is no written agreement in many media. However, many topics are being discussed, ”a French government source said, without providing further detail.

Greece has disputed neighboring Turkey on a range of issues, including overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region based on conflicting claims along the border of its continental plane.

Ankara escalated tensions last month after it sent an Ankara Rees seismic survey vessel to a disputed area after confirming the maritime border between Athens and Cairo.

France and Germany have tried to mediate to ease tensions, while Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis made two calls with United States President Donald Trump last week.

On Monday night, Turkey extended the work of the Ort Rees vessel to September. 12. Following Turkey’s advice, the European Union calls for talks with Ankara.

Greece’s foreign ministry called the adviser illegal and urged Turkey to “stay away from its daily rent and work for security and stability in the region.”

Reporting of John Irish in Athens and Paris by Renee Maltazo, Editing by William McLean


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