In the French presidency, the agreement was signed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mykotakis along with the French President.
“When we are under the pressure of a force that increases from time to time, it does not mean that the situation will worsen if we respond and show that we also have the strength and ability to defend ourselves. It is simply a demand for respect,” the French president said. He said in a press conference held after the signing at the Elysee Palace.
He stressed that “the United States is a great historical friend and ally of values, but we should note that for more than ten years, the United States has focused primarily on itself and its strategic interests are directed to China and the Pacific.” Emmanuel Macron.
He added: “He has the right to, that’s what his sovereignty wants. But we would be naive and make a big mistake if we didn’t extract ourselves from it. This is not an alternative to our alliance with the United States. It’s not an alternative to it, but a commitment to the European pillar within NATO, and I think it’s It is legitimate to ask for better protection for ourselves.
The three Belharra-class warships will be manufactured by Naval Group in Lorient, western France, and delivered to Greece in 2025 and 2026, respectively. The contract also includes a fourth warship as an option. According to the French Ministry of Defense, the exact amount of the contract of approximately 3 billion euros will be agreed upon by the end of the year.
Mikotakis pointed out that the agreement serves the needs of Greece to strengthen its program to protect against Turkish provocations in the Mediterranean. France has also publicly protested Turkey’s actions in recent years.
“France was with us during the difficult period of the summer of 2020,” the Greek prime minister stressed, adding that the agreement was not a hostile move against Turkey.
Last year, Athens issued a tender for the refurbishment of four Hydra-class battleships and battleships. In addition to the French naval group, the German TKMS, the Dutch Damen, the Italian Fincantieri, and the American Lockheed Martin also advanced.
The Greek Prime Minister also announced earlier the purchase of six French Rafale combat aircraft. Already in January, Athens signed an agreement to purchase 12 used aircraft and six new Rafales worth 2.5 billion euros, in addition, it will buy six more new aircraft.
Emmanuel Macron said the strengthened partnership with Greece “fully respects and is fully consistent with its commitments to the European Union and NATO, as it allows” more coordinated and effective action for peace and security in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa. and the Balkans.
According to the French president, the strengthened partnership is “the first bold step towards achieving European strategic autonomy”.
The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom entered into a security partnership agreement on September 15 under the name AUKUS, without prior notification to France. In this context, Australia decided to buy nuclear-powered submarines from the United States, while it terminated its contract with France for the production of diesel and electric-powered submarines. As a result, France was unable to reach a $56 billion treaty that caused a diplomatic crisis between France and the United States, and Paris recalled its ambassadors in Washington and Canberra. The French head of state has since spoken by phone with US President Joe Biden, indicating that France’s ambassador to Washington will take up his post again on Wednesday.
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