Greece set to boost military cooperation with France, Greek PM says

·1 min read
76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday that Greece has been in talks with France to boost their defence alliance as Athens seeks to build up its armed forces.

After finalising a 2.5 billion euros agreement with long-standing ally France for the purchase of 18 Dassault-made Rafale figther jets last year, Mitsotakis said this month that Greece would buy another six Rafale jets from Paris.

France had been also expected to put in proposals to supply new frigates to Athens.

Asked if Greece was close to a defence deal with France, Mitsotakis, who is in Paris, told Greek state television: "There will be announcements tomorrow morning".

"We're heading towards a substantial deepening of our strategic cooperation between Greece and France," he said.

Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron were due to make joint statements in Paris on Tuesday.

Greece has been often embroiled in tensions with neighbouring Turkey over a range of issues, from competing claims over hydrocarbon resources in the Aegean Sea to demilitarisation of islands.

Mitsotakis said that Greece did not want to start an "armaments race" but the country had to modernise its armed forces after a decade-long financial crisis.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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