On January 6th, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed at his residence in Chania, Crete, the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. The Prime Minister’s private meeting with Secretary Blinken was followed by an enlarged working meeting.
During the meeting, the two sides reviewed the entire spectrum of Greek-American relations. The excellent level of the strategic partnership of the two nations was underlined and their increased cooperation in the field of defense and security was confirmed. Furthermore, PM Mitsotakis and Secretary Blinken exchanged views on international and regional issues, focusing on developments in the Middle East. Prime Minister Mitsotakis expressed his growing concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the risks of an escalation of the crisis, with all that this implies for regional stability and security.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Antony Blinken also exchanged views on developments in Ukraine. The US Secretary of State expressed his gratitude for the support that Greece has provided to Ukraine from the very beginning. Moreover, the two men discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Prime Minister reiterated Greece’s firm and long-standing position in favor of the peaceful resolution of disputes and good neighborly relations based on International Law, principles that ensure regional stability and security.
In a significant development, on January 26th, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification to Congress for a potential military sale of up to 40 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft and related equipment to Greece. In a letter to PM Mitsotakis, Secretary Blinken stated that “the strong bilateral relationship is a testament to the enduring links between our nations, and I am encouraged by the progress we have made together under the US-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement to maintain strong, capable and interoperable militaries.” Secretary Blinken referred to the F-35 sale and to the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) grant transfers that the Biden administration proposes to Congress to be given to Greece.
After receiving Secretary Blinken’s letter, PM Mitsotakis stated that “today is an important day for our national defense and for Greek diplomacy, because the letter I received from the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted and sealed the strategic depth of Greek-American relations. With this letter, Greece is officially on track to acquire up to 40 latest generation F-35 fighter jets. Nonetheless, at the same time, it will also acquire a very large package of equipment for free, which decisively strengthens all three branches of the Armed Forces, as well as the Hellenic Coast Guard… In an era of uncertainty, our country reaffirms that it stands with seriousness and geopolitical maturity on the world map, while, at the same time, it serves its national rights by shielding its defense. On the path of stability and peace, always with pride and national confidence.”
Looking ahead, the 5th Strategic Dialogue between Greece and the U.S., covering a wide range of the two nations’ fields of cooperation, will take place on February 9th in Washington DC.
Read the statements by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the beginning of their meeting in Chania here.