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Greece does its shopping in Washington

Leon Panetta and Dimitri Avramopoulos on the Pentagon staircase (credit: US Department of Defense)

(BRUSSELS2) 500 Abrams M1A1 combat tanks (i.e. 100 more than the initial American offer), 700 M-113 type armored personnel carriers, a “significant” number of Hummer vehicles, even Apache helicopters… the Shopping by the Greek Minister of Defense, Dimitri Avramopoulos, and his Chief of Staff at the Pentagon was fruitful. All this for 0 euros, the offer is tempting and unbeatable for any normally constituted European…

These vehicles are, in fact, offered by the United States and come from their stocks. And transport – a key point which blocked any negotiation since it represents a significant cost of 10 million euros – could be provided by “private sponsors”, shipowners and expatriates in the United States, according to the Greek daily. Kathimerini. This is without counting maintenance and repair, for which the Greeks are expecting a helping hand from the Americans. Everything is not completely settled yet. And the respective chiefs of staff, the Greek Michael Kostarakis and the American Martin Dempsey, agreed to speak again on the telephone directly, to finalize the agreement negotiated by their teams. The Germans or Dutch who might be tempted to sell their surplus Leopard tanks will be at a loss...

Extensive overview

During the meeting with Leon Panetta, the two defense ministers also gave a broad overview of current strategic issues, starting with the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Cyprus and the status of Macedonia/Fyrom (the dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia still blocks its full integration into the NATO accession process). “The Greek national defense system, despite the economic crisis, continues to be one of the strongest and safest in the region and will always be a (tool) in the service of peace, cooperation, security and stability in our region » declared the Greek minister to the press after this meeting.

A gesture without counterparts?

This American gesture is intended to thank Greece for its commitment in Libya in particular and in the fight against piracy, we officially assure. But we do not yet know very well all the proponents of the compensation(s) offered by the Greeks. (*). Avramopoulos would also have taken the opportunity to praise the merits of Greek tailors who could help supply the American army with uniforms... What also seems certain is that the Americans want to counterbalance their efforts in the region; they are currently carrying out joint military maneuvers with the Greeks and the Israelis. “ A strategic alliance » specified Avramoupoulos who took advantage of this stay across the Atlantic (over three days) to meet not only the expatriate Greek community but also have lunch with various influential officials of theAmerican Jewish Committee. Greece occupies a strategic point facing a Middle East and an Arab world in turmoil, and a threatening Iran. In general, the Hellenic Minister thus committed to developing “defense cooperation programs” with the Americans. More concretely, the Americans would also like the Greeks to become more actively involved in the anti-missile shield currently being deployed in Europe.

(*) I don’t believe in the act of “pure” generosity in international matters :)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

4 thoughts on “Greece does its shopping in Washington"

  • the question is not to believe when the feasibility is already there! and speaking of generosity in international relations, it is not generosity that directs the offer but rather the cosmo-geo-strategy that feeds it.

  • These deliveries of 500 M1 are confirmed? With already more than 350 Leopard IIs and hundreds of Leo I and M48s (those to be scrapped), this small country of 10 million inhabitants on the verge of bankruptcy will have the most prolific armored weapon in the world. 'EU if I'm mistaken...

  • Ianis Karia

    “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes” The adage has two meanings (gifts from Europe and now American gifts) as it is true that Greece must, for its survival, caress Europe in the direction of the hair without falling into dependence on Brussels. A way of reminding Europeans that they still have to reckon with America, which they had buried a little quickly.

  • Next time, the Germans would be well advised not to criticize a country as they did for Greece. The time when the Greeks bought their submarines from the Germans is over! for the benefit of dcns why not!

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